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Melissodes coloradensis Cresson, 1878
Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Apoidea   Apidae   Melissodes
Subgenus: Callimelissodes

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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 14-16 mm., breadth of abdomen 5.5 mm.; black, including clypeus, labrum and tegulae; mandibles with a vague, subapical yellowish area; segments of flagellum beyond the 2nd brownish-testaceous beneath, black above; apical tarsal segments becoming testaceous; wings quite deeply infuscated, veins piceous; cheeks distinctly narrower than eyes; clypeus not markedly protuberant, its median length about half the distance between eyes below; eyes slightly convergent below; basal segment of flagellum nearly twice the length of segment 2, the latter slightly longer than broad; clypeus somewhat shining between coarse, close and deep punctures, these becoming finer and more densely crowded apically, labrum somewhat more finely but very closely and deeply punctate; median area of face, above and on each side of clypeus, rather closely and deeply punctate, lateral areas above antennae becoming smooth and very sparsely punctate, vertex and cheeks with fine and well separated punctures; scutum, scutellum and mesopleura shining between coarse and deep punctures, these rather widely separated on scutum medially, much closer and finer laterally and anteriorly, somewhat finer and evenly distributed on scutellum, rather close over most of pleura; propodeum dull and tessellate, punctures rather coarse, shallow and well separated, becoming closer on lateral faces, dorsal area becoming rather coarsely and shallowly rugoso-punctate on each side, lateral faces becoming somewhat more shining and sparsely punctate below and along anterior margin; abdominal terga with rather deep and distinct punctures, these rather widely separated medially on basal tergum, becoming progressively closer on the more apical terga, and becoming obsolescent toward apical margin of each plate, the rather narrow apical margins impunctate; median length of pygidium considerably greater than basal width, gradually narrowed to the rather broadly rounded apex; pubescence of head entirely pale ochraceous; scutum and scutellum with short, erect, fuscous, pubescence in large part, the scutum pale pubescent only across the narrow anterior margin, and scutellum with a few pale hairs around posterior margin, thorax otherwise pale ochraceous pubescent; legs, including scopa, largely pale ochraceous pubescent, but fore and mid tibiae with somewhat darker hairs on outer face, scopal hairs densely plumose; basal abdominal tergum with rather copious, erect, pale ochraceous pubescence across base; tergum 2 with a narrow, basal, ochraceous fascia and with a vestige of a pale subapical fascia on each extreme side; tergum 3 with a subapical, rather narrow, pale fascia that is widely interrupted medially; and tergum 4 with a rather broad, apical fascia which is partially interrupted medially on the apical margin; discal pubescence of these tergal plates very short and inconspicuous, but erect and entirely dark, that on 4 more abundant, entirely dark on 5, forming a blackish or fuscous apical fimbria of long appressed hairs along posterior margin, these becoming pale at each extreme side, and pubescence of tergum 6 dark on each side of pygidium.

MALE�Length 14.5-16 mm., breadth of abdomen 5-5.5 mm.; black, the clypeus, labrum and base of mandibles bright yellow, mandibles dark apically but with an outer, orange maculation covering most of apical half; flagellum brownish-testaceous beneath, piceous above, apical tarsal segments brownish-testaceous, spurs brownish-testaceous, tegulae black; wings uniformly pale brownish, veins brownish ft piceous; cheeks distinctly narrower than eyes; clypeus not markedly protuberant, its median length slightly greater than half the distance between eyes below; eyes slightly convergent below; shorter side of basal segment of flagellum very slightly longer than pedicel, segment 2 about six times this length; punctures of clypeus rather coarse and distinct, slightly separated, those of labrum somewhat finer and closer, rather fine and dense(y crowded on each side of face above clypeal margin, becoming somewhat more distinctly separated above antennae, rather coarse and well separated on vertex laterally and over most of cheeks; scutum and scutellum somewhat shining between deep, distinct punctures, these rather coarse, slightly separated in center of scutum, becoming somewhat finer and very close laterally and anteriorly, well separated but hardly sparse on scutellum, close, deep and coarse beneath dense pubescence on pleura; punctures coarse but rather shallow on the dull posterior face of propodeum, lateral faces somewhat more shining, quite fully punctate, dorsal area impunctate on midline, but becoming irregularly rugose laterally; discs of abdominal terga deeply and rather coarsely punctate, rather sparsely so medially, but otherwise rather close, invading to a considerable degree the impressed apical areas, only the rather narrow apical rims impunctate; terga 4-6 dull, punctures fine and densely crowded; tergum 5 with an obscure angle at each extreme side, and tergum 6 with a corresponding pronounced, triangular spine at each side; scutellum and posterior half or more of scutum covered with suberect and rather copious, fuscous pubescence, otherwise entire head, thorax, legs and basal abdominal tergum pale ochraceous pubescent; tergum 2 with a narrow and rather obscure band of pale pubescence across base, usually covered by tergum 1; terga 3 and 4 with ochraceous fasciae evident at each side, widely interrupted medially on 3, more narrowly so on 4, tergum 5 with a similar, more apical, ochraceous fascia, interrupted on apical margin medially; median length of pygidial plate considerably less than basal width, slightly narrowed apically, with a subapical constriction, apex abruptly and rather broadly truncate; sterna 7 and 8 and genital armature as shown (fig. 84).

DISTRIBUTION�California to North Carolina, through Illinois and Ohio.
FLOWER RECORDS�According to LaBerge (1961) Helianthus is the primary source of pollen for coloradensis, but it has been recorded as visiting also species of the following: Cirsium, Coreopsis, Heliopsis, Liatris, Lythrum, Rudbeckia, Silphium, Solanum, Solidago, Verbena and Vernonia.

Extracted from: LaBerge, W. E., 1961. A Revision of the Bees of the Genus Melissodes in North and Central America. Part III (Hymenoptera, Apidae). The University of Kansas Science Bulletin, Vol. 43. 1-107.

This large, distinctively colored bee is readily distinguished from the other members of the subgenus Callimelissodes. It superficially resembles Svastra obliqua (Say), but can be separated from that species by the shape of the tegulae which are narrowed anteriorly as in all species of the genus Melissodes. M. coloradensis can be separated from other species of the subgenus Callimelissodes in both sexes by the deeply infumate wings, the yellow-ochre color of the pale vestiture, the coarsely punctate integument (although less coarse than in M. tuckeri) and its large size (equaled only by some specimens of M. glenwoodensis in this subgenus. It is most closely related to M. tuckeri than to any other members of the subgenus.

Female. Measurements and ratios: N, 20; length, 13-16 mm.; width, 4.5-6.0 mm.; wing length, M = 5.25 0.126 mm.; hooks in hamulus, M = 16.20 0.304; flagellar segment 1/segment 2, M = 1.99 0.022.

Male. Measurements and ratios: N, 20; length, 13-16 mm.; width, 4.0-5.5 mm.; wing length, M = 4.88 0.240 mm.; hooks in hamulus, M = 15.05 0.198; flagellar segment 2/segment 1, M = 6.40 0.103.

Structure and color: Integument black except as follows: disti- tarsi, apical half of mandible and lower surface of flagellar seg- ments 3 (often apex of 2) to 10 rufescent; wing membranes deeply infumate, brown; eyes dark gray to greenish gray. Clypeus with small round punctures separated mostly by half a puncture width or less, surface dulled by coarse reticular shagreen- ing; supraclypeal area similar to clypeus but punctures larger me- dially; vertex with flattened area posteromesad of compound eye with small round punctures separated by half to one puncture width, surface dulled by fine shagreening; eye about 3 times as long as broad; galeae dulled above by fine tessellation; maxillary palpal segments in ratio of about 2.5:3.0:2.0:1.0, last segment vari- able. Mesoscutum with deep round punctures separated by less than one-half to somewhat more than one puncture width, slightly more crowded anteriorly and laterally than posteromedially, sur- face shiny, with extremely delicate shagreening or unshagreened; scutellar punctures similar to mesoscutal but average slightly smaller; metanotal punctures half diameter of large scutellar punc- tures, crowded, mediodorsally separated by about half a puncture width, surface minutely tessellate; propodeum as in M. lupina but dorsal surface in apical half with punctures elongate and orientated anterolaterally; mesepisternum with punctures similar in size and spacing to anterior mesoscutal punctures, surface shiny. Metaso- mal tergum 1 with basal four-fifths punctate, punctures about same diameter as scutellar, smaller towards apical margin, separated by one-half to two puncture widths but mostly by less than one, apical area impunctate, surface dulled by extremely fine, dense, reticulo- transverse shagreening; tergum 2 with abundant deep punctures of same size as in tergum | or slightly smaller, in basal zone separated by half a puncture width or less, in interband zone separated mostly by one-half to one puncture width, in apical area crowded basally and becoming smaller and sparser apically until apical one-third of apical area impunctate, surface shagreened as in tergum 1; terga 3 and 4 similar to tergum 2 but punctures slightly smaller and more crowded; pygidial plate U-shaped with arms diverging widely towards base.

Hair: Head ochraceous below to yellow-ochre above and vertex with abundant dark brown hairs. Thorax yellow-ochre laterally to slightly rufescent on anterior part of mesoscutum and pronotum; mesoscutal posteromedian dark brown patch extending laterally to tegulae or almost so and anteriorly to a transverse line at anterior margins of tegulae; tegulae dark brown; scutellum dark brown, narrowly fringed with ochraceous. Metasomal tergum 1 with long yellow-ochre hairs in basal third, apically with minute, simple, appressed, dark brown hairs; tergum 2 with pale ochraceous pu- bescence at extreme base, with narrow, short, lateral fasciae of ochraceous pubescence distally which equal less than one-third of tergum and in length about half of apubescent area apical to them, not connected with basal pubescence at extreme sides, interband and apical zones with short, closely appressed, simple, dark brown hairs; tergum 3 similar to tergum 2 except basal tomentum dark brown, lateral pale fasciae broader than one-third of width of tergum (occasionally with distal pale band only narrowly inter- rupted medially) and as long as or longer than apical apubescent area; tergum 4 similar to tergum 3 but distal pale band reaches apical margin except in median one-fourth to one-third, uninter- rupted medially; terga 5 and 6 dark brown except pale ochraceous tufts at sides; sternal hairs reddish brown medially to ochraceous laterally. Legs brown except as follows: coxae, trochanters and femora (except at tips) yellow-ochre to ochraceous; inner sur- faces of tarsi (including hind basitarsi) red to reddish brown; sco- pal hairs yellow except brown near apex of basitarsus and near basitibial plate.

Distribution. This species is distributed from North Carolina to California and from Wisconsin in the north to Arizona in the south (Fig. 4). It has been collected between the dates of July 2 and October 13.

Flower Records. Cirsium sp., C. discolor, C. lanceolatum, Core- opsis sp., C. tripteris, Helianthus sp., H. annuus, H. atrorubens, H. divaricatus, H. grosse-serratus, H. mollis, H. petiolaris, H. scaber- rimus, H. tuberosus, Heliopsis helianthoides, H. laevis, Liatris pycnostachya, Lythrum alatum, Rudbeckia laciniata, Silphium sp.. S. integrifolium, S. laciniatum, S. perfoliatum, S. terebinthinaceum, Solanum sp., Solidago serotina, Verbena hasta, V. stricta, Vernonia sp., V. baldwini interior, V. fasciculata.

Scientific source:

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Updated: 2023-09-29 20:26:52 gmt
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