megachilidae

Megachilidae
Enlarge picture
Male carder bee, Anthidium manicatum

Male carder bee, Anthidium manicatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Subphylum:Hexapoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Suborder:Apocrita
Superfamily:Apoidea
Family:Megachilidae
Subfamilies


Fideliinae
Megachilinae
Some of the genera
Anthidium
Coelioxys
Heriades
Hoplitis
Megachile
Osmia
Stelis


The Megachilidae are a cosmopolitan family of (mostly) solitary bees whose pollen-carrying structure (called scopa) is restricted to the ventral surface of the abdomen (rather than on the hind legs like in all other bee families). Megachilid genera are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials they build their nest cells from (clay or leaves, respectively); a few collect plant or animal hairs and fibers, and are called carder bees. Most species feed on nectar and pollen, but a few are cleptoparasites (informally called "cuckoo bees"). Parasitic species do not possess a scopa. The brightly colored scopa leads to a colloquial name used occasionally in North America - "Jelly-belly bees." Megachilid bees are among the world's most efficient pollinators because of their energetic swimming-like motion in the reproductive structures of flowers, which moves pollen, as needed for pollination. Ironically, one of the reasons they are efficient pollinators is their frequency of visits to plants, but this is because they are extremely inefficient at gathering pollen; compared to all other bee families, megachilids require on average nearly ten times as many trips to flowers to gather sufficient resources to provision a single brood cell.

North America has many native Megachilid species, but Alfalfa leafcutter bees (Megachile rotundata) are an imported species used for pollination. The most significant native species is Osmia lignaria (the "Orchard Mason Bee" or "Blue Orchard Bee"), which is sold commercially for use in orchard crop pollination, and which can be attracted to nest in wooden blocks with holes drilled in them (which are also sold commercially for this purpose).

Life Cycle

Non-parasitic species

The general life cycle of non-parasitic Megachilidae is as follows (but see below for variations):
Enlarge picture
Life cycle
Nests are typically divided into cells, each cell receives a supply of food (pollen or a pollen/nectar mix) and an egg; after finding a suitable spot (often near where she emerged), a female starts building a first cell, stocks it, and oviposits. Then she builds a wall that separates the completed cell from the next one. The larva hatches from the egg and consumes the food supply. After moulting a few times, it spins a cocoon and pupates. Then it emerges from the nest as an adult. Males die shortly after mating, but females survive for another few weeks, during which they build new nests.

Variations:
  • Nests are often (but not always) built in natural or artificial cavities. Some embed individual cells in a mass of clay or resin attached to a wall, rock surface, or plant stem.
  • Nest cavities are often linear, for example in hollow plant stems, but not always (snail shells are used by some Osmia, and some species will readily use irregular cavities).

Parasitic species

Some genera of Megachilids are brood parasites and, therefore, have no ventral scopa (e.g. Stelis, Coelioxys). They often parasitize related taxa. They typically enter the nest before it is sealed and lay their eggs in a cell. After hatching, the parasite larva kills the host larva, unless the female parasite has already done so, and then consumes the provisions. Parasitic species are of equal size or smaller than their victims.

Genera of Megachilidae

Enlarge picture
A leaf-cutter bee showing abdominal scopa
  • Anthidium are leaf-cutting bees who use conifer resin, plant hairs, earth, or a combination of these as material for the nest walls. Their abdominal bands are usually interrupted in the middle. There is no lobe (arolium) between their claws. Anthidium manicatum (pictured) is commonly known as the Wool Carder Bee which uses comblike mandibles to "comb" plant fibers into its brood cell walls. It has spread from Europe to North and South America. The males are much larger (ca. 18 mm) than the females (ca.12 mm) which is not uncommon among Megachilidae, but very rare among other bee families (e.g., the true honey bees, genus Apis). The males also have three "thorns" at their abdominal apex which they use as weapons when defending their territory.
  • Paranthidium
  • Dianthidium
  • Anthidiellum
  • Trachusa
  • Coelioxys are brood parasites of Megachile. Females have a pointed conic abdominal apex (tip), males have several spikes on their apex.
  • Dioxys are brood parasites of Megachile, Anthidium and Osmia.
  • Heriades are mason bees with narrow abdominal bands. They resemble small Osmia, but they are oligolectic (specialized on a few subfamilies of Asteraceae) and use resin from conifers, as well as plant fibers and sand, as cell wall material.
  • Megachile are mostly leaf-cutters, but some are masons. In the former species the whole cell (not just the wall between cells) is made from leaf pieces. There is no lobe (arolium) between their claws.
  • Osmia are mason bees, they build their nests in natural or artificial cavities such as hollow plant stems, abandoned nests of wood-boring beetles or carpenter bees, or even snail shells. They do not excavate their own nests. The material used for the cell can be clay or chewed plant tissue. A few species are referred to as orchard mason bees.
  • Ashmeadiella
  • Hoplitis
  • Stelis Panzer (and other related genera), or the stelidine bees, are cleptoparasites on other Megachilidae. They belong to the tribe Anthidiini.
  • Heterostelis are parasitic on Trachusa.

Gallery


Carder Bee, Female
Anthidium manicatum
Photo: Bruce Marlin

Coelioxys, at Stuckey, South Carolina


Leaves showing cuts by a leafcutter bee


See also [1] (Search for Megachilidae, North America only)

External links

Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. Scientific classification also can be called scientific taxonomy, but should be distinguished from folk taxonomy, which lacks scientific basis.
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Arthropoda
Latreille, 1829

Subphyla and Classes
  • Subphylum Trilobitomorpha
  • Trilobita - trilobites (extinct)
  • Subphylum Chelicerata

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Hexapoda
Latreille, 1825

Classes & Orders

Class Insecta (insects)
Class Entognatha

The subphylum Hexapoda (from the Greek for six legs
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Insecta
Linnaeus, 1758

Orders
Subclass Apterygota
* Archaeognatha (bristletails)
* Thysanura (silverfish)
Subclass Pterygota
* Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic)

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Hymenoptera
Linnaeus, 1758

Suborders

Apocrita
Symphyta

Hymenoptera is one of the larger orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants.
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Apocrita

Superfamilies
  • Aculeata
  • Superfamily Apoidea
  • Superfamily Chrysidoidea
  • Superfamily Vespoidea
  • Parasitica

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Apoidea

Series

Spheciformes
Anthophila

The superfamily Apoidea is a major group within the Hymenoptera, which includes two traditionally-recognized lineages, the "sphecoid" wasps, and the bees, who appear to be their descendants.
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Anthidium is a genus of small bees often called mason or potter bees, who use conifer resin, plant hairs, mud, or a mix of them to build nests. They are in the family Megachilidae which is cosmopolitan in distribution and made up of species that are mostly solitary bees with
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Megachile
Latreille, 1802

subgenera

many (>50)

The genus Megachile is a cosmopolitan group of solitary bees, often called leafcutter bees.
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Osmia
Panzer, 1806

Mason bee is a general term for certain species of bees in the family Megachilidae, most appropriately restricted to the genus Osmia, such as the orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria), the blueberry bee (
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In biogeography, a biological category of living things is said to have cosmopolitan distribution if this category can be found almost anywhere around the world. See "cosmopolitan" for etymology.

An example of a cosmopolitan species is the Painted Lady butterfly.
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BEE may refer to:
  • Black Economic Empowerment, the policy of post-apartheid affirmative action in South Africa
  • Biblical Education by Extension, a Christian program designed to instruct theology in countries with weak theological infrastructure.

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scopa is used to refer to any of a number of different modifications on the body of a non-parasitic bee that form a pollen-carrying apparatus. In most bees, the scopa is simply a particularly dense mass of elongated, often branched, hairs (or setae) on the hind leg.
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Osmia
Panzer, 1806

Mason bee is a general term for certain species of bees in the family Megachilidae, most appropriately restricted to the genus Osmia, such as the orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria), the blueberry bee (
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Kleptoparasitism or cleptoparasitism (literally, parasitism by theft) is a form of feeding where one animal takes prey from another that has caught, killed, or otherwise prepared, including stored food (as in the case of cuckoo bees, which lay their eggs on the pollen masses
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The term cuckoo bee is used for a variety of different bee lineages which have evolved the cleptoparasitic habit of laying their eggs in the nests of other bees, reminiscent of the behavior of cuckoo birds. The name is technically best applied to the apid subfamily Nomadinae.
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A pollinator is the biotic agent (vector) that moves pollen from the male anthers of a flower to the female stigma of a flower to accomplish fertilization or syngamy of the female gamete in the ovule of the flower by the male gamete from the pollen grain.
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Pollen is a fine to coarse powder consisting of microgametophytes (pollen grains), which produce the male gametes (sperm cells) of seed plants. The pollen grain with its hard coat protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement between the stamens
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Pollination is an important step in the reproduction of seed plants: the transfer of pollen grains (male gametes) to the plant carpel, the structure that contains the ovule (female gamete).
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M. rotundata

Binomial name
Megachile rotundata
(Fabricius, 1787)

The Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee (Megachile rotundata
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Pollination Management is the label for horticultural practices that accomplish or enhance pollination of a crop, to improve yield or quality, by understanding of the particular crop's pollination needs, and by knowledgeable management of pollenizers, pollinators, and pollination
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O. lignaria

Binomial name
Osmia lignaria
Say, 1837

The orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria
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O. lignaria

Binomial name
Osmia lignaria
Say, 1837

The orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria
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O. lignaria

Binomial name
Osmia lignaria
Say, 1837

The orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria
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Anthidium is a genus of small bees often called mason or potter bees, who use conifer resin, plant hairs, mud, or a mix of them to build nests. They are in the family Megachilidae which is cosmopolitan in distribution and made up of species that are mostly solitary bees with
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The factual accuracy of part of this article is disputed.
The dispute is about whether the species/subspecies treatment of Engel (1999) has been accepted by the scientific community.

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Megachile
Latreille, 1802

subgenera

many (>50)

The genus Megachile is a cosmopolitan group of solitary bees, often called leafcutter bees.
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Megachile
Latreille, 1802

subgenera

many (>50)

The genus Megachile is a cosmopolitan group of solitary bees, often called leafcutter bees.
..... Click the link for more information.
Anthidium is a genus of small bees often called mason or potter bees, who use conifer resin, plant hairs, mud, or a mix of them to build nests. They are in the family Megachilidae which is cosmopolitan in distribution and made up of species that are mostly solitary bees with
..... Click the link for more information.


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