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Species Macrotera opuntiae - Sandstone Mining Bee

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Andrenidae (Mining Bees)
Subfamily Panurginae
Tribe Panurgini
Subtribe Perditina
Genus Macrotera
Species opuntiae (Sandstone Mining Bee)
Other Common Names
A more literal translation would be "prickly pear mining bee." Several other Macrotera species also feed on Opuntia, but nest in soil.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Perdita opuntiae Cockerell, 1922
Explanation of Names
Named after the plant genus Opuntia.
Sandstone outcrops in Great Plains and adjacent mountains.
Nest tubes in sandstone; the only North American insect to burrow in sandstone. They may exploit existing holes, but can excavate their own. Otherwise, habitat is probably dictated by preferences of the host plant.
Exclusively Opuntia (prickly pear), at least O. compressa and O. polycantha.
"M. (C.) opuntiae (Cockerell) is well known as the bee that makes its burrows in sandstone."(1)
Print References
Bennett, Beth and Michael D. Breed. 1985. The Nesting Biology, Mating Behavior, and Foraging Ecology of Perdita opuntiae (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 58(2):185-194 (JSTOR)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.The Bees of the World, 2nd edition
Charles D. Michener. 2007. The Johns Hopkins University Press.