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Photo#1593904
 Red-legged Megachile Bee - Megachile - male

Red-legged Megachile Bee - Megachile - Male
National Butterfly Center in Mission, Hidalgo County, Texas, USA
September 15, 2018
Size: 10 mm
This 10 mm male bee was found feeding on the legume Texas snout bean (Rhynchosia senna var. texana), in an arid habitat near the Mexican border. Is this Lithurgus chrysurus? Or something else? The only other red-legged Megachile (that was not a cuckoo bee) that we could find on BG was here

Images of this individual: tag all
 Red-legged Megachile Bee - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male Red-legged Megachile Bee - Lithurginae?  - Megachile - male

Specimen at UTIC
For those following this sighting, the specimen has been accessioned into the University of Texas insect collection with the catalog number UTIC214739.

Moved

Moved

Moved

Megachile male
I believe this to be a new record for the USA of a Neotropical (Mexican) species quite different in appearance from any known US species. Would be good to get a specimen voucher.

I'm going to way out on a limb and speculate that it is a male of Megachile (Leptorachis) chrysophila. Images of AMNH holotype female here:
https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Megachile+chrysophila

L. chrysophila has red legs and is known from TAMPS.

In any case surely it is surely a species native to the New World and a very interesting (and publishable) record!

 
Red-legged Leafcutter Bee
Thank you so much, Dr. Ascher, Dr. Neff, and Hadel Go, for all of the effort and knowledge that you put in to identifying this bee. And thank you also, Dr. Ascher, for being the person who brought the special nature of this bee to our attention.

 
amnh specimen
amnh has one male bee curated under Megachile chrysophila in addition to the holotype, although the det label is only to subgenus. the specimen does not resemble the bee in the photo - mandibles and t7 are different, among other things. compare: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hj066tpirlajopp/AAAbZrfnpjJKqobMlZnOidvAa?dl=0

 
Thanks Hadel!
You are right, it is something different. Can you check M. simplicipes and M. toluca (they occur fairly far N in Mexico)? These are in subgenus Tylomegachile. See Michener (2007) re lack of emargination of carina of T6 and large submedian teeth of apical margin of T6.

Compare with description of M. toluca male here:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/32790#page/139/mode/1up

Clearly not a Leptorachis. Don't know what I was thinking other than that this subgenus is known from the USA whereas I now realize that this bee most likely belongs to a new SUBGENUS for the USA (was not expecting that level of novelty but it now seems to be the case). Was just remembering the red legs of M. chrysophila I suppose, because T6 doesn't match nor do mandibles (as noted by Hadel).

 
M. toluca
oops yes i meant t6

we do not have M. simplicipes males, only females.

i've imaged one of the two M. toluca males we have. mandibles are not visible because they're closed and covered by hair in both specimens. this species looks similar to the bee in above photos but i don't know what parts are diagnostic. here are some images (didnt get a chance to edit yet):
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ab73srxwanehqc4/AAATPj19xLFjaGYh2CdD-zjEa?dl=0

 
Voucher of red-legged Megachile bee?
Wow! Thanks for that information. And thanks for taking the time and effort to ID this for us and to convey this information to us.

Can anyone point me to an internet source that explains how to voucher a specimen?

 
Listing of Voucher Specialists
If you collected a specimen, you have at least three options:
1) - Send it to BOLDSYSTEMS for a DNA analysis. (not recommended for a rare species like this, since they don't have a bin for it yet)
2) - Send it to one of our BUGGUIDE scientists for a microscopic examination. A list of specialists is here. You should try to contact one of them, by email for assistance before sending anything. In this case, Dr. Ascher is the prime candidate.
3) - Contact your local university, since they would prefer to properly ID and then house your specimen, in their own entomology collection.

 
I queried leading Texas expert Jack Neff
of CTMI affiliated with UT in Austin. He agrees that it could be a Tylomegachile such as M. toluca (but not yet fully confirmed)

 
Thanks Bob!
Thanks Bob! That's really helpful.

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

looks like Megachile. no Lithurgus chrysurus in TX.

 
Thanks
Thanks for your comment, Hadel Go. Couldn't an invasive species like Lithurgus Chrysurus survive in the southern US? It would be nice, though, if it was something else, something native.

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