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Melissodes vernoniae Robertson, 1902
Melissodes confusiformis incondita Cockerell, 1925

Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Apoidea   Apidae   Melissodes
Subgenus: Eumelissodes


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Overview
Reprinted with permission from: Mitchell, T.B. 1962 Bees of the Eastern United States. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin No. 152.


FEMALE—Length 12-13 mm., breadth of abdomen 4.5-5 mm.; black, mandibles more or less yellowish apically; antennal flagella more piceous beneath, black above; apical tarsal segments brownish-testaceous, the spurs pale testaceous; tegulae piceous, faintly testaceous posteriorly; wings hyaline, veins testaceous to brownish; cheeks subequal to eyes in width; clypeus only very slightly protuberant, its median length about half the distance between eyes below; eyes very slightly convergent below; segment 2 of flagellum about half the length of segment 1; punctures of clypeus dull, punctures rather fine, close laterally, slightly separated medially, those on labrum uniformly fine and close; supraclypeal area with well separated punctures medially, becoming close laterally, and lateral areas of face below level of antennae with fine and rather close punctures, becoming minute and rather sparse above, where surface is shining between eyes and ocelli, the more median punctures below ocelli relatively coarse, deep and close; vertex very finely and densely punctate behind ocelli, becoming more distinctly separated laterally; cheeks somewhat shining, punctures very minute along eye margin, becoming relatively coarse and deep posteriorly; scutum and scutellum somewhat shining, punctures variable, rather coarse and well separated on scutum medially, becoming finer and closer around margin, those on scutellum about equal in size, slightly but not widely separated; punctures of pleura deep, rather coarse and quite close throughout, becoming very fine posteriorly above mid coxae; posterior face of propodeum dull and tessellate, punctures shallow, not very coarse, somewhat separated, dorsal area becoming rather narrowly rugose along upper margin, lateral faces dull and tessellate, rather closely but shallowly punctate; basal abdominal tergum rather coarsely but shallowly punctate across basal half, surface rather dull, punctures slightly separated, becoming finer and closer at extreme sides where they nearly reach apical margin, the broad median apical area entirely impunctate; basal areas of terga 2-4 very finely punctate, the punctures minute and rather sparse on 2 medially, becoming somewhat deeper and closer laterally, somewhat closer on 3 and 4 but obscured by tomentum, apical impressed areas practically impunctate; pygidium elongate-triangular, median length somewhat greater than basal width, apex narrowly rounded; pubescence copious but rather short on head, largely pale, but with a few erect blackish hairs on vertex; scutum and scutellum with short, erect, fuscous or blackish pubescence, the anterior third of scutum ochraceous pubescent; pleura and propodeum entirely ochraceous pubescent; legs largely pale pubescent but fore and mid tibiae with some brownish pubescence on outer face apically, the basitarsi with fuscous hairs beneath; hind tibial scopa pale yellowish, hairs abundantly plumose; basal tergum with abundant but rather short, pale pubescence basally, and with some shorter pale pubescence at extreme sides, the disc otherwise bare, with no evidence of dark hairs; tergum 2 with a narrow, basal, whitish fascia and a more median, narrow fascia that fringes the apical impressed area and is slightly interrupted medially, disc otherwise practically bare, with only very minute, appressed pale pubescence at all evident; apical impressed area of tergum 3 fringed with a pale fascia along the base, basal part of disc thinly covered with pale tomentum, apical area largely bare; apical impressed area of tergum 4 entirely covered with cream-colored tomentum, possibly slightly interrupted on apical margin medially, basal area with some appressed, pale tomentum and some more erect but rather short dark pubescence; terga 5 and 6 largely fuscous or blackish pubescent, but 6 with some erect pale hairs at each extreme side.

MALE—Length 10.5-11 mm., breadth of abdomen 4-4.5 mm.; black, clypeus entirely pale yellow, labrum with a median, basal, yellow maculation, and mandibles yellow at base, and with a somewhat more testaceous subapical maculation; antennal flagellum testaceous beneath, more brownish above; apical tarsal segments becoming brownish-testaceous, the spurs pale yellowish; tegulae brownish; wings whitish-hyaline, veins testaceous to brownish; apical margins of abdominal terga broadly yellowish-hyaline and transparent; cheeks somewhat narrower than eyes; clypeus only slightly protuberant, its median length slightly greater than distance between eyes below; basal segment of flagellum very slightly longer than pedicel, segment 2 nearly four times as long as segment 1 and pedicel combined; punctures of clypeus fine and quite close laterally, somewhat more definitely separated medially, quite obscure, on the yellow surface, those on labrum somewhat deeper and more distinct but quite close; supraclypeal area narrowly impunctate medially, becoming closely punctate at each side, lateral areas of face below level of antennae, very finely and closely punctate, punctures becoming very minute and rather close on the shining surface above, between eyes and ocelli, the more median punctures below ocelli somewhat deeper and more distinct but still very fine; vertex very finely and densely punctate behind ocelli, punctures becoming much more distinct and separated laterally; cheeks shining, punctures minute anteriorly, becoming rather deep and distinct posteriorly; scutum somewhat shining between deep and rather coarse punctures, these well separated but not sparse over posterior half of disc, becoming much finer and closer laterally and anteriorly, those on scutellum about equal in size, well separated but not sparse; punctures of pleura deep and distinct, moderately coarse below, becoming much coarser above, very fine posteriorly above the mid coxae; posterior face of propodeum dull and tessellate, punctures shallow, irregularly scattered, but quite numerous, dorsal area becoming rugose along upper margin medially, more striate laterally, lateral faces very finely and closely punctate; basal abdominal tergum with rather coarse but shallow, well separated punctures medially, becoming somewhat finer but closer laterally where they approach the apical margin, becoming minute and more sparse toward the broad impunctate apical area; terga 2-5 very finely punctate across base, these well separated but not sparse on 2 and 3, much closer on 4, but obscured by tomentum, apical impressed areas largely impunctate; tergum 5 with a distinct, triangular process on each extreme side, 6 with a more robust, subtriangular, apical spine on each side; pubescence of head, thorax, legs and basal abdominal tergum largely whitish, only scutum posteriorly and scutellum with a few inconspicuous dark hairs intermixed in the generally light pubescence; discs of abdominal terga with subappressed, largely pale, thin pubescence, becoming somewhat more erect on the more apical terga, tergum 2 with a basal whitish fascia, often covered in part by the preceding tergum, and apical impressed areas of terga 2-5 fringed basally with rather narrow whitish fasciae, apical rims largely bare; median length of pygidial plate somewhat less than basal width, margins sharply carinate, very slightly convergent apically to the abruptly constricted truncate apex; sterna 7 and 8 and genital armature as in dentiventris (fig. 84).

IMSTRIBUTION — North ‘Dakota to Texas, west to Idaho, and east to Illinois and Indiana, May to September.

FLOWER RECORDS—LaBerge (1961) states that while vernoniae is oligolectic on Vernonia, males and occasional females will visit other plants, and there may be some dependence upon Helianthus and Ipomoea for pollen. Records include species of the following: Bidens, Gaillardia, Grindelia, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Ipomoea, Lacinaria, Lactuca, Liatris, Monarda, Polygonum, Rudbeckia, Silphium and Verbena.

Names
Scientific source:

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FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Asteraceae  Lactuca pulchella @ AMNH_BEE (1)

Vernonia fasciculata @ AMNH_BEE (1)

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Updated: 2017-11-19 12:41:45 gmt
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