D I S C O V E R    L I F E   
Bee Hunt! Odonata Lepidoptera 
  HomeAll Living ThingsIDnature guidesGlobal mapperAlbumsLabelsSearch
  AboutNewsEventsResearchEducationProjectsStudy sitesHelp

Melissodes wheeleri Cockerell, 1906
Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Apoidea   Apidae   Melissodes
Subgenus: Eumelissodes

Click on map for details about points.

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 11 mm., breadth of abdomen 4.5 mm.; black, the apical tarsal segments becoming brownish-testaceous, spurs pale testaceous; tegulae piceous; wings subhyaline and somewhat whitish, veins testaceous to brownish; cheeks subequal to eyes in width; clypeus only very slightly protuberant, its median length half the distance between eyes below; eyes very slightly convergent below; clypeal punctures rather coarse and close, somewhat separated medially, becoming very fine, densely crowded and obscure toward apical margin, those of labrum very fine and close medially, becoming somewhat separated on each side; supraclypeal area sparsely punctate. lateral areas of face below level of antennae with fine, slightly separated punctures, becoming minute and rather sparse on shining surface above between eyes and ocelli, the more median punctures below ocelli quite coarse, deep and close; vertex very finely and densely punctate behind ocelli, becoming much more minutely and sparsely punctate laterally; cheeks somewhat shining, punctures exceedingly minute, becoming deeper and more distinct posteriorly; scutum somewhat shining between quite deep and rather coarse punctures, these quite sparse medially over posterior half of disc, becoming somewhat finer and much closer laterally and anteriorly, those on scutellum somewhat finer, distinctly but not widely separated; punctures of pleura quite coarse, close and deep, becoming somewhat finer and closer posteriorly above mid coxae; posterior face of propodeum dull and tessellate, punctures shallow, not very coarse, rather sparse, dorsal area rather finely and narrowly rugose along upper margin, lateral faces dull and densely tessellate, punctures shallow and rather obscure, obsolescent below; basal half of basal abdominal tergum dull, punctures fine, shallow and obscure, the broad apical area impunctate; basal areas of terga 2-4 minutely and quite obscurely punctate, the punctures well separated on 2, somewhat closer on 3, quite close on 4, apical impressed areas largely impunctate; pygidium rather broadly rounded apically; vertex with considerable erect, fuscous or black pubescence, fringed posteriorly with dense white pubescence, a few intermixed black hairs below the ocelli, otherwise head whitish pubescent; scutellum and posterior two-thirds of scutum with considerable erect fuscous pubescence, more or less intermixed with pale on scutum, the anterior third entirely whitish pubescent, and pleura and propodeum entirely pale pubescent; legs largely pale pubescent, but fore and mid tibiae with some appressed brownish pubescence on outer surface apically, and basitarsi with some brownish or fuscous hairs beneath; the hind tibial scopa pale yellowish, hairs abundantly plumose; basal abdominal tergum with rather short but copious pubescence basally and laterally, with no dark hairs evident on the disc; basal areas of terga 2-4 with very thin, inconspicuous dark pubescence, apical impressed areas with only very sparse, inconspicuous largely appressed, dark hairs; tergum 2 with an obscure, basal whitish fascia that is usually covered by the preceding tergum, apical impressed area narrowly fringed with a white fascia which is interrupted medially; apical impressed area of tergum 3 fringed basally with a whitish fascia that is somewhat more dense and conspicuous than on 2 and is subinterrupted medially; impressed area of 4 completely covered with white tomentum, forming a dense, broad, apical fascia; terga 5 and 6 entirely brownish pubescent.

MALE�Length 8-9.5 mm., breadth of abdomen 2.5-3.5 mm.; black, the clypeus largely yellow, with only the upper margin very narrowly blackened, labrum with a large, median yellowish maculation and mandibles each with a small, basal, yellowish spot, and more or less yellowish apically; antennal flagellum testaceous beneath, brownish-testaceous above; apical tarsal segments becoming testaceous, the spurs pale yellowish; tegulae dull testaceous to brownish; wings whitish-hyaline, veins pale yellowish to testaceous; apical margins of abdominal terga becoming more or less yellowish-hyaline apically; cheeks about equal to eyes in width; clypeus only very slightly protuberant, its median length about half the distance between eyes below; eyes rather strongly convergent below; basal segment of flagellum about equal to pedicel, segment 2 three or four times longer than combined length of segment 1 and pedicel; punctures of clypeus fine, rather well separated medially, becoming somewhat closer laterally, very obscure on the yellow surface, those on labrum fine, but somewhat deeper and more distinct, becoming slightly separated at each extreme side; supraclypeal area with fine, slightly separated punctures, lateral areas of face below level of antennae with somewhat finer and closer punctures, becoming minute but still rather close on the shining surface above, between eyes and ocelli, the more median punctures below ocelli very sparse and irregular, becoming somewhat coarser on each side of mid-line; vertex with fine, densely crowded punctures behind ocelli, these becoming more minute and widely separated laterally, those on cheeks fine, but deep and distinct, except along margin of eye; scutum somewhat shining between quite coarse and deep punctures, these quite sparse on median area of disc posteriorly, becoming considerably finer and closer laterally and anteriorly, those on scutellum somewhat finer but quite close; punctures of pleura rather coarse but shallow, well separated but not sparse; posterior face of propodeum dull and tessellate, punctures fine, shallow, irregularly scattered and somewhat sparse, dorsal area becoming �rather narrowly rugose or reticulate along upper margin, lateral faces rather dull, quite closely but obscurely punctate, the punctures obsolescent below; basal abdominal tergum with fine, rather well separated punctures on disc medially, these somewhat closer at extreme sides, and becoming minute and more sparse toward the rather narrowly impunctate apical margin; basal areas of terga 2-5 with very minute, scattered and rather sparse punctures, the apical impressed areas with only scattered, exceedingly minute and obscure punctures at all evident; disc of tergum 6 very dull, more reticulate than punctate; tergum 5 with a very obscure, low angle at each extreme side, and 6 with a corresponding triangular, rather robust, apical spine; pubescence quite copious, long and erect, entirely whitish on head, thorax, legs and basal abdominal tergum; discs of terga 2 and 3 with rather abundant but thin, suberect, whitish pubescence, and 4-6 with more elongate, erect pubescence which is dark in part; tergum 2 with a loose, inconspicuous, basal, whitish fascia that is usually hidden, and the apical impressed area obscurely fringed on each side by a whitish fascia, usually interrupted medially; apical impressed areas of 3-5 fringed with a whitish fascia which is narrow on 3, somewhat broader on 4 and quite broad on 5, nearly reaching the apical rim; tergum 6 with entirely brownish pubescence; median length of pygidial plate about equal to basal width, margins strongly carinate, slightly converging apically to the rather obscurely constricted truncate apex; sterna 7 and 8 and genital armature as in agilis (fig. 84).

DISTRIBUTION�Arizona to Louisiana, north to North Dakota and Michigan, April to October.

FLOWER RECORDS�LaBerge (1961) gives Gaillardia, Helianthus and Rudbeckia as the genera preferred by wheeleri, but lists also species of the following: Anthemis, Asclepias, Cleome, Coreopsis,. Echinacea, Engelmannia, Grindelia, Opuntia, Petalostemum, Ratibida, Silphium and Sphaeralcea.

Extracted from: Melissodes wheeleri, Cockerell, 1906 Trans. Am. Ent. Soc, 32, p. 111

Female. In my tables runs to M. communis Cress., which it resembles in size and appearance, differing however as follows; hair of labrum lighter, fulvous at apex; area behind ocelli with a large amount of black hair; eyes reddish (green in communis; patch on black hair on mesothorax much larger, extending forward at anterior corners; wings practically clear, very smoky in sub basal area on second abdominal segment practically impunctate median band on third segment narrower; fourth segment with a bare patch, but the hind margin covered with black hair and light hair is white, not at all ochreous; the hair of the is pale throughout, except at a few hardly noticeable bands of hair just under the wings. The ventral surface of the is covered in fuscous hair.

Extracted from: Melissodes wheeleri Cockerell (1906) Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7)17, p. 367

What I think must be the male of this is from Fedor, Texas, May 31, 1901 (Birkmann). It runs in my tables to M. perplexa, but has a large light spot on labrum, upper part of clypeus without black, and less black hair on mesothorax. I presume that it will be impossible to certainly match the sexes of the closely allied species of this group without field-observations.

Scientific source:

Supported by

Hosts · map
FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Asteraceae  Grindelia squarrosa @ AMNH_BEE (1)

Helianthus petiolaris @ AMNH_BEE (1)

Ratibida columnifera @ AMNH_BEE (3)

Verbesina @ UCRC_ENT (1)
Cleomaceae  Peritoma serrulata @ AMNH_BEE (1)
Fabaceae  Dalea purpurea @ AMNH_BEE (1)

go to Discover Life's Facebook group

Updated: 2023-09-30 01:50:10 gmt
Discover Life | Top
© Designed by The Polistes Corporation