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Melissodes desponsus Smith, 1854
Melissodes desponsa Smith, 1854; Melissodes nigripes Smith, 1854; Melissodes cnici Robertson, 1901; Melissodes (Heliomelissodes) desponsa Smith, 1854

Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Apoidea   Apidae   Melissodes
Subgenus: Heliomelissodes

Melissodes desponsus, F, back, Virginia, Prince William County
© Copyright source/photographer · 6
Melissodes desponsus, F, back, Virginia, Prince William County

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    Identification Note - - In the males, and perhaps the females, there is a fair amount of variation in the hair color. Male's heads can have completely light colored hairs, including the clypeus, or there can be extensive intermixing of black hairs, particularly on the rear edge of the clypeus and on the cheek. The mesepisturnum can also vary in the amount of light and dark hairs and we have seen thin bands of white hairs show up on T2-3.
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Melissodes desponsus, F, face, Virginia, Prince William County
© Copyright source/photographer · 6
Melissodes desponsus, F, face, Virginia, Prince William County
Melissodes desponsus, F, side, Virginia, Prince William County
© Copyright source/photographer · 5
Melissodes desponsus, F, side, Virginia, Prince William County

Melissodes desponsus, Thistle Long-horned Bee
© Copyright John Ascher, 2006-2014 · 4
Melissodes desponsus, Thistle Long-horned Bee
Melissodes desponsus, Thistle Long-horned Bee
© Copyright John Ascher, 2006-2014 · 4
Melissodes desponsus, Thistle Long-horned Bee
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 12-13.5 mm., breadth of abdomen 5-5.5 mm.; black, including labrum and base of mandibles, the latter with an apical testaceous maculation; flagellum beyond segment 2 brownish-testaceous beneath, black above; apical tarsal segments becoming somewhat brownish, spurs testaceous, tegulae piceous; wings uniformly very lightly infuscated, veins brownish to piceous; cheeks nearly as broad as eyes; clypeus rather strongly protuberant, its median length slightly less than half distance between eyes below; eyes sub- parallel; basal segment of flagellum twice the length of shorter side of segment 2, which is about equal to the apical breadth; clypeus quite uniformly, deeply, distinctly, closely and rather coarsely punctate; punctures of labrum similar, but somewhat more crowded medially; face below antennae rather finely and closely punctate, becoming smooth and shining, with exceedingly minute and barely evident punctures above antennae, median area rather dull, with fine and rather vague punctures; vertex laterally with some rather distinct and close punctures; cheeks shining, posterior punctures distinct and close, becoming very minute along eye margin; scutum and scutellum somewhat shining between deep, distinct and rather coarse punctures, these slightly separated on disc of scutum posteriorly, becoming finer and densely crowded over anterior half, distinct and slightly separated on scutellum, rather shallow and quite close over mesopleura; posterior face of propodeum dull, punctures rather shallow, irregularly scattered, dorsal area dull, impunctate in mid-line but becoming rather coarsely reticulate laterally, lateral faces becoming somewhat shining anteriorly but otherwise very closely and finely punctate; basal abdominal tergum finely but rather deeply punctate across basal third, punctures rather sparse medially, closer laterally, the broad apical area entirely impunctate; tergum 2 very minutely and sparsely punctate medially, punctures becoming somewhat more distinct and close at each side basally, apical area practically impunctate; tergum 3 very finely and quite closely punctate across basal half, punctures invading apical area nearly to the rim, but becoming very minute apically; tergum 4 even more closely-punctate across -base, becoming -more rugose toward the sides basally, the depressed- apical half very finely and closely punctate, the narrow apical rim impunctate; tergum 5 dull, with dense, minute punctures; median length of pygidium much greater than basal width, evenly narrowed apically to the narrowly rounded apex, with a slightly elevated median ridge apically; head with pale ochraceous pubescence around and above antennae and across vertex back of ocelii, the cheeks, clypeus, labrum and posterior margin of vertex with black pubescence, mandibles fringed beneath with very long, black or fuscous hairs; scutum with some short, rather inconspicuous black hairs posteriorly, and scutellum with a considerable area of black pubescence, otherwise dorsum of thorax pale ochraceous pubescent, this extending across upper part of pleura and on posterior face of propodeum, the pleura laterally and below, and lateral faces of propodeum, black pubescent; legs largely black or fuscous pubescent, but scopa pale yellowish, hairs sparsely plumose; abdominal terga largely bare, but basal tergum with some rather short pale pubescence anteriorly, the more apical terga with short fuscous pubescence and scattered, elongate, suberect black hairs, entirely lacking pale fasciae.

MALE—Length 11-13.5 mm., breadth of abdomen 4-5 mm.; black, the clypeus yellow, with upper margin sometimes narrowly invaded with black; labrum and mandibles black, mandibles with orange maculae on outer surface near apex; 2nd and following segments of flagellum testaceous beneath, piceous above, the basal segment, pedicel and scape piceous to black; apical tarsal segments somewhat more brownish, spurs dark brownish to testaceous; tegulae blackish; wings very lightly and uniformly infuscated, veins brownish to piceous; cheeks much narrower than eyes; clypeus rather strongly protuberant, median length slightly greater than half the distance between eyes below; eyes very slightly convergent below; shorter side of basal segment of flagellum nearly twice as long as pedicel, segment 2 about two and one half times length of 1; punctures of clypeus and labrum quite deep, distinct, rather close and coarse, those on face on each side below antennae somewhat finer and very close, becoming somewhat more sparse above, surface somewhat more shining, well separated on each side of vertex between eyes and ocelli, but very fine and densely crowded medially, rather close along cheeks posteriorly but becoming minute and widely separated toward margin of eye; punctures quite deep, distinct and rather coarse on scutum and scutellum, slightly separated on scutellum and on scutum posteriorly, becoming finer and densely crowded laterally and anteriorly; punctures quite coarse and close on pleura laterally, becoming finer and closer below, sometimes with a shining, impunctate space just beneath wing base; posterior face of propodeum quite dull, tessellate, punctures irregularly scattered, rather shallow but coarse, dorsal area with a few rather coarse punctures along mid-line, becoming rather coarsely reticulate toward each side, lateral faces becoming somewhat smooth and shining anteriorly and below, punctures becoming obsolescent; punctures of abdominal terga quite deep and distinct, rather coarse, well separated on basal tergum, becoming closer laterally, apical area somewhat invaded by very minute punctures, these becoming close laterally, the margin becoming impunctate; punctures of terga 2 and 3 very fine and well separated toward each side, apical impressed area quite broad, invaded nearly to the rim with very minute, rather close, barely distinguishable punctures; terga 4 and 5 very finely and much more closely punctate, the depressed margins invaded by minute, rather close punctures nearly to the rims; tergum 5 with a slight angle at each extreme side, and tergum 6 with a corresponding, triangular spine-like projection; face with some pale ochraceous pubescence around and between antennae and across vertex, some erect fuscous hairs on each side of clypeus and across posterior margin of vertex; cheeks entirely black pubescent; scutum, scutellum, propodeum and upper part of pleura entirely pale ochraceous pubescent, pleura black pubescent below, and legs with largely black hairs, somewhat paler on inner surface of hind tibiae; basal abdominal tergum with rather copious, erect and elongate, pale ochraceous pubescence across basal half, but with some fuscous pubescence on anterior face near base and some short blackish pubescence on each extreme side apically; pubescence of discs otherwise largely black, suberect, rather thin, short medially, becoming more evident laterally and more elongate on the more apical terga, with no fasciae evident; median length of pygidial plate subequal to basal width, slightly narrowed apically to the abruptly truncate apex, with a slight emargination on each side toward apex; sterna 7 and 8 and genital armature as shown (fig. 84).

DISTRIBUTION — North Dakota to Nova Scotia, South to Oklahoma, Alabama and North Carolina, June to October. FLOWER RECORDS — Aster, Brauneria, Carduus, Cassia, Centaurea, Cirsium, Coreopsis, Helianthus, Inula, Monarda, Pontederia, Pycnanthemum, Rudbeckia, Silphium, Solidago and Verbena.


Names
Scientific source:

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FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Asteraceae  Cirsium volgare @ B_AW (2)

Cirsium vulgare @ B_AW (3)
Lamiaceae  Monarda fistulosa @ B_AW (3)
_  Cynareae @ I_JSA (1)

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