Extracted from: LaBerge, W. E. 1963. New Species and Records of Little-known Species of Melissodes from North America (Hymenoptera: Anthophriadae). Bulletin of The University of Nebraska State Muesem, Vol. 4. Pp 227-242.
A long series of M. saponellus of both sexes, many captured in
copulo, were submitted to the author recently for determination.
Several females of M. saponellus were caught in copulo with males
of M. (Tachymelissodes) opuntiella, as well as others with males of
their own species. The author believes that interspecific "errors" of
this sort are not uncommon among bees. In fact, the author has even
observed bees of different genera seemingly in copulo in nature. The
new records listed below more than double the number of specimens
of this species available in collections.
UTAH: Hatton (3 miles west): 22 !j? !j?, 18 ~ ~ (18 pairs collected
in cOPlilo), 1 une 2, 1959, on E1"igeron compositus; 2 !j?!j?, I ~, 1 une
3, 1959, on Tetmdymis canescens. These specimens are in the collections
of Utah State University at Logan and the University of
Nebraska State lVIuseum at Lincoln.
Extracted from: Melissodes saponellus Cockerell, 1908 Can. Ent. 40, p. 234
Female. Length about 11 mm., anterior wing not quite 8 mm; black, with very pale ochreous hair; disc of mesothorax exposed centrally, shining and sparsely punctured, with the bordering hairs black, but easily overlooked; hair on inner side of hind basitarsus clear ferruginous; abdomen broad, the second and following segments all covered with pale ochreous felt-like hair, the second with a median dusky band, where the hair is thin enough to partially expose the surface; hind margins of the segments (tegument) pallid, that of the first slightly iridescent, and grading into the black through a red suffusion; hair of fifth segment and sides of sixth a very pale but warm reddish, not at all black or fuscous; eyes green; flagellum, except basally, bright ferruginous beneath; tegulae shining piceous; maxillary palpi four-jointed, the last join minute.
Superficially this looks exactly like a Xenoglossodes, and especially resembles X. imitatrix, Ckll. and Porter, from which it differs by the less convex outer edge of mandibles, the flagellum red beneath, the black hair on thorax above, and other small details. The two species are, I think, closely related, and it is doubtful whether they should be genetically separated.
Among the species of Melissodes, it is most like M. Stearnsi, Ckll., but larger and without black fuscous hair on the legs. It cannot be the undescribed female of M. vernonensis, Vier., as the latter has a very much broader second submarginal cell.
Hab.—Soap Lake, Grand Coulee, Washington State, June 29, 1902. (A. L. Melander, No. 9.)