female; lateral view
male; lateral view

Scientific Name: Agapostemon virescens (Fabricius, 1775)

Common Name: Bicolored Striped Sweat Bee


Andrena virescens Fabricius, 1775: 378 [♀]

     Holotype ♀. America [BMNH]

Andrena nigricornis Fabricius, 1793: 313 [♂‚] [synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 76?]

     Syntypes ♂‚. USA, Georgia [unknown, as per Sandhouse 1936: 77]

Halictus dimidiatus Lepeletier, 1841: 283 [♀] [synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 77?]


Halictus tricolor Lepeletier, 1841: 289 [♂‚] [synonymy by Roberts 1972: 547]

Augochlora radiata Provancher, 1882: 205 [misidentification; synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 77] 

Agapostemon bicolor Robertson, 1893: 148 [♀,♂‚] [synonymy by Roberts 1895: ]

Agapostemon viridulus Cresson, 1887 (not Fabricius):  [misidentification; synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 77] 

Agapostemon viridulus Robertson, 1897: 326 [] [misidentification; synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 77] 

Agapostemon viridulus Crawford, 1912: [misidentification; synonymy by Sandhouse 1936: 77] 


Species Notes

Cresson (1887), and later Robertson (1895, 1897), Crawford (1901), and Vachal (1903) applied the name Agapostemon viridulus (F.) to specimens of A. virescens based on the descriptions and/or the geography indicated, as A. virescens is the only species occuring in eastern North America, and all of Canada in which the female has a black abdomen (Sandhouse 1936). Robertson argued that... it is an absurd affection of authority to give this name [A. viridulus] to the Cuban species, before it is shown that Fabricius did not mean that his species came from the continent of North America, that he did not know where it came from, or that the description of Apis viridula does not apply to the North American species (Robertson 1897). Robertson (1897) also indicated that Provancher (1882) misidentifed A. viridulus (=A. virescens) as Agocholora radiata, though in that same work (Provancher 1882) he recognized A. virescens as A. tricolor Lepell.; the misidentification was suspected by Sandhouse (1936) and confirmed by Sheffield and Perron (2014). Crawford (1912) also used A. viridulus for this species for specimens from Medicine Hat, Alberta as the name A. virescens is not applied in his revision of North American species (Crawford 1901), though again the morphology and geography fit this species.

Unfortunately, Fabricius (1793) did not idicate a type locatity, but in 1804 indicated that the species was from Habitat in America boreali (Fabricius 1804), hence the comments from Robertson (1897). The lectotype for A. viridulus (F.) was designated by Moure (1960) from two female specimens at the Lund collection at the Zoologiske Museum in Copenhagen; Moure (1960) indicated that the species was apparently limited to Cuba, though offered no diagnosis to separate this material from A. virescens. Roberts (1972) accepted the treatment of Moure (1960), but indicated that due to the inadequacy of the original description, many authors believe that A. viridulus is a synonymy of A. virescens. If this proves to be the case, than A. femoralis Guérin-Méneville, with a type locailty of Cuba) would be the oldest name available for the Cuban species. The phylogeny of Janjic and Packer (2003) placed the Cuban species in a separate species group (viridulus group) from A. virescens (splendens group), the former species group seemingly restricted to the Caribbean; however, no morphological comparisons were made to distinguish the species groups.

The DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN) for this species is BOLD:AAB2708.



Abrams and Eickwort (1980) studied the biology of this species, and indicated this species was communal; Eickwort (1981) described the larvae and nesting biology of this species, suggesting that the nests were possibly communally (i.e., occupied by several females each). In southern parts of its range this species is multivoltine (Eickwort 1981), and will build its nest in a variety of substrates.



♀ body length:  mm; head length:  mm; head width:  mm; forewing length:  mm

♂‚ body length: mm; head length:  mm; head width:  mm; forewing length:  mm


Index of Area of Occupancy (IAO) in Canada (http://geocat.kew.org/):  km2



Abrams J, Eickwort GC (1980) Biology of the communal sweat bee, Agapostemon virescens in New York State. Search Agriculture 1: 1-20.

Crawford JC (1901) North American bees of the genus Agapostemon. Nebraska Academy of Sciences

Eickwort GC (1981) Aspects of the nesting biology of five Nearctic species of Agapostemon (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 54(2): 337-351. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25084166

Fabricius JC (1775) Systema Entomologiae, Sistens Insectorum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, Adiectis Synonymis, Locis, Descriptionibus, Observationibus. Flensburgi et Lipsiae, Korte. 832 pp.

Fabricius JC (1793) Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta... Vol. 2. Hafniae: Proft. 519 pp. 

Guérin-Méneville FE (1844) Iconographie du règne animal de G. Cuvier. Insects. Paris, Baillière. 576 pp. 

Janjic J, Packer L (2003) Phylogeny of the bee genus Agapostemon (Hymenoptera: Halictidae).

Roberts RB (1972) Revision of the bee genus Agapostemon. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 49: 437-590.

Sociality: Communal
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Mated Female

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Mixwood Plains, Prairie, Western Interior Basin

Distribution Map