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Megachile - Megachile angelarum - female

Megachile - Megachile angelarum - Female
Cloudburst Summit, ~ 7000ft, San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, California, USA
August 5, 2008
Size: ~ 8mm
In Nevin's bird beak flower (Cordylanthus nevinii).
Looks like a female Megachile with edge of ventral scopa visible.
One has to get very close to even see these little flowers. Bees enter (I've seen bumble bees in these) by squeezing in between the lips of the corolla.
For a look at the flowers, incl. one with a bumble bee, see calphotos.

Pollination mechanisms for Cordylanthus
I'd often wondered who pollinates the somewhat tightly shut bellows-like flowers of Cordylanthus...and how they go about it. I've read Bombus are principal pollinators of Cordylanthus palmatus...which sounds reasonable, as they're pretty hefty & strong, so can to muscle into the corolla.

But in searching the term "Cordylanthus" on BugGuide, only your post and mine below came up:


Both show female Megachile digging down into the corolla with top of head against the inside of the lower lip (and tongue reaching for nectar?), and abdominal scopa pressed against in inner side of the upper lobe/hood...where they can make contact with the anthers, which presumably pop out of the hood when the upper lobe is pressed backwards. That seems like a fairly elegant match of form & function between Cordylanthus and Megachile.

Would be interesting to see the mechanics of how bumbles and other pollinators interact with various Cordylanthus species.

(Disregard...inadvertent duplicate comment)


Megachile (Chelostomoides) angelarum

Note the body form and deep, transverse, fasciate basal grooves of the terga characteristic of subgenus Chelostomoides.

Note also that M. angelarum (as Chalicodoma angelarum) is recorded from Cordylanthus nevinii in Hurd, 1979

Thanks for the ID, John,
and the additional information. I've put all into my records for later reference.
Interesting to know a member of this subgenus since I first heard about it in connection with Stelis laticincta, a probable cleptoparasite of Chelostomoides.

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