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This small family of moderately large-sized bees occurs only in the Western Hemisphere.
Although as a group the Oxaeidae are primarily centered in the tropics, a few species are
present in the warm temperate areas of both North and South America. Some of the species
commence flight activity about sunrise and at least the males of one species, Protoxaea gloriosa
(Fox), cluster in large aggregations on selected plants where they spend the night.
The known intrafloral relationships of these bees suggest a rather narrow dependence upon
relatively few sources of pollen. These include only certain genera within the plant families
Leguminosae, Solanaceae, and Zygophyllaceae. However, the males and females seek nectar
from a comparatively wide variety of plants since the flowers of some of the preferred pollen
sources produce little or no nectar and large quantities of nectar are required to meet the
bioenergetic needs of these fast-flying bees.
Revision: Kurd and Linsley, 1976. Smithsn. Contrib. Zool. 220: 1-75, 68 figs., 3 pis., 2 maps, 2
tables (included genera and spp., behavior, intrafloral ecology, summary of biological
Taxonomy: Friese, 1898. K. K. Naturhist. Hofmus., Ann. 13: 59-86 (tax. characters, tax.
position). —Schrottky, 1913. Soc. Cient. Argentina, An. 75: 114-115, 180-286 (tax. position).
— Michener, 1944. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., Bui. 82: 246 (tax. characters, tax. status).
—Moure, 1946. Bol. Agr. 4: 12-13 (tax. characters). —Moure, 1950. Dusenia 1: 303-306 (tax.
characters, tax. status). — Rozen, 1964. N. Y. Ent. Soc, Jour. 72: 223-230, 7 figs. (tax.
characters, tax. status). —Rozen, 1965. Amer. mus. Novitates 2224: 1-18 (immature stages,
tax. status). —Michener, 1965. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., Bui. 130: 10 (tax. status). —Graf,
1966. Ciencia e Cultura 18: 137-138 (tax. characters, tax. status). —Linsley and Cazier,
1972. Amer. Mus. Novitates 2509: 1-25, 4 tables (tax. status). —Roberts, 1973. Kans. Ent.
Soc, Jour. 46: 437-446 (tax. status).
Biology: Linsley and Cazier, 1972. Amer. Mus. Novitates 2509: 1-25, 4 tables (behavior).
— Hurd and Linsley, 1976. Smithsn. Contrib. Zool. 220: 5-16, 2 tables (flower preferences,
territoriality of males, sleeping aggregations of males, nest sites, nest architecture, female
aggressiveness at nest site, parasites, immature stages).
Morphology: Popov, 1941. Acad. Sci. USSR, Compt. Rend. 30: 82-85, 4 figs, (male genitalia).
— popov, 1945. Zool. Zhur. 24: 329-336, 3 figs, (male genitalia). —Rozen, 1951. Kans. Ent.
Soc, Jour. 24: 142-150, 17 figs, (male genitalia).
Genus PROTOXAEA Cockerell and Porter
Protoxaea Cockerell and Porter, 1899. Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) 4: 410.
Type-species: Megacilissa gloriosa Fox. Monotypic and orig. desig.
This genus is composed of three species, two of which (P. australis Hurd and Linsley and P.
micheneri Hurd and Linsley) occur in Mexico below the elevation of Mexico City and well to the
south of P. gloriosa (Fox) which ranges over much of northern Mexico and adjacent
southwestern United States.
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Protoxaea gloriosa (Fox)
Genus MESOXAEA Hurd and Linsley
Mesoxaea Hurd and Linsley, 1976. Smithsn. Contrib. Zool. 220: 41.
Type-species: Oxaea nigerrima Friese. Orig. desig.
As presently understood this genus contains seven species which occupy much of the Mexican
mainland to the northeast, south, and west of the Mexican Plateau although one species inhabits
the Valley of Mexico.
Mesoxaea arizonica (Cockerell)
Mesoxaea rufescens Hurd and Linsley
Mesoxaea texana (Friese)
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