Bees of Canada Logo

Augochlora pura pura (Say, 1837)


Scientific Name: Augochlora pura pura (Say, 1837)

Common Name: Pure Green Sweat Bee


Halictus purus Say, 1837: 395 [♀, ♂].

     Types ♀, ♂. USA [presumed destroyed].

Augochlora festiva Smith, 1853: 80 [♀]. Synonymy by Michener (1951: 1125).

     Holotype ♀. USA, Florida, St. John’s Bluff, by E. Doubleday, Esq. [BMNH].

Anglchlora pura Couper, 1881: 19. Lapsus of Augochlora pura (Say, 1837).

Augochlora Robertsoni Cockerell, 1897: 69 [♀]. Synonymy by Robertson (1897: 323).

     Holotype ♀. USA, Illinois, S. Illinois, by C. Robertson [?].

Augochlora Banksiella (pura subsp. ?) Cockerell, 1907: 533 [♀, ♂]. Synonymy by Crawford (1913: 243).

     Syntypes ♀, ♂. USA, Virginia, 4 May to 20 July [no year provided], by N. Banks; 21 June [no year provided], by N. Banks, on Ceanothus; Virginia, Great Falls, 20 April, by N. Banks; Maryland, Odenton, by N. Banks. [CAS no. 15191].

Halictus astios Vachal, 1911: 44 [♀]. Synonymy by J. S. Moure, in Mitchell (1960: 456).

     Lectotype ♀, desginated by J.S. Moure, in Moure and Hurd (1987: 267). USA, North Carolina, Elizabeth City, 22 January 1905, by Sherman [Musée de Paris].

Halictus astios var. (?) fuscatipes Vachal, 1911: 45 [♀]. Synonymy by J. S. Moure, in Mitchell (1960: 456).

     Lectotype ♀, desginated by J.S. Moure, in Moure and Hurd (1987: 267). USA, North Carolina, Eliz[abeth]. City [Musée de Paris].

Halictus asaphes Vachal, 1911: 49 [♀]. Synonymy by J. S. Moure, in Mitchell (1960: 456).

     Holotype ♀. USA, New York [Musée de Paris].

Augochlora palmarum Cockerell, 1922: 15 [♀, ♂]. Synonymy by Sandhouse (1937: 77).

     Holotype ♀. USA, Florida, Palm Beach, by C.F. Baker [USNM no. 24892].


Taxonomic notes: Say’s (Say 1837: 395-396) original description of Halictus purus Say, 1837, type species of the genus Augochlora Smith, 1853, is not entirely sufficient to distiguish Augochlora pura (Say, 1837) from Augochlorella aurata (Smith, 1853) as the first recurrent vein can be interstitial with the second intercubital vein in both genera. Say (1837: 396) also indicated that in the male, the “tibiae and tarsi yellowish-white” while Mitchell (1960: 457) suggested ferruginous; most specimens seen from Canada and the eastern USA have the tarsi, including the basitarsus, brown to only slightly paler than the tibia. However, there is no doubt that at least some of Say’s type material was indeed this species, as he provided the first details of its unique nesting biology within decomposing wood which is not a characteristic of Augochlorella. However, Sandhouse (1937: 66) clearly diagnosed Augochlora and Augochlorella, so designation of a neotype for Halictus purus is likely not warranted to stabilize the taxonomy.

Smith (1879: 45) later described what he thought was the male of A. festiva Smith, 1853 from Santarem (Brazil), indicating that the metasoma was pale ferruginous with a green apex, with the apical margins of the of the posterior segments blackish; this was later determined to be incorrectly associated with the female from Florida, and renamed Augochlora festivaga Dalla Torre, 1896 by Dalla Torre (1896: 95) (see Schrottky 1903: 399).

Though Michener (1951: 1125) and Hurd (1979: 1949) indicated that Augochlora Banksiella Cockerell, 1907 was described from the ♀ only, Cockerell (1907: 533) did mention the ♂ as having the tarsi ferruginous; the ♂ is therefore included as part of the syntypes above. Sandhouse (1937: ) indicated that she examined the type of Augochlora Banksiella Cockerell, 1907 in the USNM, though it is at CAS (Moure and Hurd 1987: 267); the synonymy of Crawford (1913: 243) was not based on examination of material from the type location.

Vachal (1911: 44) suspected the synonymy of his Halictus astios Vachal, 1911 with Augochlora festiva Smith, 1853. J.S. Moure (in Moure and Hurd 1987: 267) designated lectotypes for Halictus astios and Halictus astios var. fuscatipes Vachal, 1911 from material in the Musée de Paris in 1958 (see Mitchell 1960: 456), but the designations were not actually published until done so by Moure and Hurd (1987: 267).

Halictus asaphes Vachal, 1911 had previously been treated as a synonymy of Augochlorella striata (Provancher, 1888) = Augochlorella aurata (Smith, 1853) by Sandhouse (1937: 70) though there was no indication that she examined Vachal’s type. J.S. Moure, in Mitchell (1960: 456) examined the type material in the Musée de Paris and placed it into synonymy with A. pura pura (Say, 1837), and also apparently examined the type materials and confirmed the synonymies of Halictus astios Vachal, 1911 and Halictus astios var. (?) fuscatipes Vachal, 1911 under A. pura, supporting the earier synonyms of Crawford (1913: 243) and Sandhouse (1937: 77), respectively: as Crawford (1913) and Sandhouse (1937) made no mention of type materials examined (the latter indicating the locations were unknown), J.S. Moure (in Mitchell 1960) is credited with the synonyms.

Though Sandhouse (1937: 77) treated Augochlora mosieri Cockerell, 1922 as a synonym of A. pura (Say, 1837), Mitchell (1960: 458) and Krombein (1967: 469) considered it a valid subspecies endemic to Florida characterized by a deep blue to purple colour (and see Cockerell 1922: 15), and pleural punctation. As such, it is not included as a synonym above.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAD6445

Biology: The nesting behaviour of this species was first described by Say (1837), and studied in detail by Stockhammer (1966) and Barrows (1973). Females excavate nests in decomposing wood (Say 1837; Stockhammer 1966; Barrows 1973). The chemical composition of the waxy brood cell lining was studied by May (1974). Pahlke et al. (2020) reported that the loss of social behaviour in this species has resulted in a reduced investment in neural composition (i.e., mushroom body volume).

Distribution in Canada: Smith 1853 [NS]; Couper 1881 [QC]; Provancher 1882 [Canada?]; Evans 1896 [ON]; Walker 1913 [ON]; Criddle et al. 1924 [ON, QC]; Sandhouse 1937 [ON, QC]; Pengelly 1953 [ON]; Knerer and Atwood 1962 [ON]; Finnamore and Neary 1978 [NS]; Sugar et al. 1999 [ON]; Packer et al. 2007 [ON, Maritimes]; Discover Life [NB, PE].


Barrows EM (1973) Soil nesting by wood-inhabiting halictine bees, Augochlora pura and Lasioglossum coeruleum (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 46(4): 496-499.

Schrottky C (1902) Ensaio sôbre abelhas solitárias do Brazil. Revista do Museu Paulista 5: 330-613.

Smith F (1879) Descriptions of New Species of Hymenoptera in the Collection of the British Museum. London. xxi + 240 pp.

Cockerell TDA (1907) Descriptions and records of bees.—XIV. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7 19(114): 531-540.

Cockerell TDA (1922) Bees in the collection of the United States National Museum.—4. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 60: 1-20.

Dalla Torre CG (1896) Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Volume X: Apidae (Anthophila). Engelmann, Leipzig, 644 pp.

Hurd PD (1979) Superfamily Apoidea. In: Krombein KV, Hurd Jr PD, Smith DR, Burks BD (Eds) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 2735 pp.

Knerer G, Atwood CE (1962) An annotated check list of the non-parasitic Halictidae (Hymenoptera) of Ontario. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Ontario 92: 160-176.

Mitchell TB (1960) Bees of the Eastern United States. Volume 1. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 141: 1-538.

Robertson C (1897) North American bees−descriptions and synonyms. Transactions of the Academy of Sciences of St. Louis 7: 315-356.

Say T (1837) Descriptions of new species of North American Hymenoptera, and observations on some already described. Boston Journal of Natural History 1: 361-416.

Smith F (1853) Catalogue of Hymenopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London, 198 pp.

Criddle N, Curran CH, Viereck HL, Buckell ER (1924) The entomological record, 1923. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 54: 87-102.

Sugar A, Finnamore A, Goulet H, Cumming J, Kerr JT, De Giusti M, Packer L (1999) A preliminary survey of symphytan and aculeate Hymenoptera from oak savannahs in southern Ontario. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Ontario 129: 9-18.

Moure JS, Hurd PD (1987) An annotated catalog of the halictid bees of the Western Hemisphere (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. vii + 405 pp.

Evans JD (1896) List of Hymenoptera taken at Sudbury, Ont. The Canadian Entomologist 28(1): 9-13.

Michener CD (1951) Family Halictidae. In: Muesebeck CF, Krombein KV, Townes HK (Eds) Hymenoptera of America north of Mexico Synoptic Catalog. 2. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Monograph, Washington. Pp. 1104-1134.

Pengelly DH (1954) Alfalfa pollination in southern Ontario. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 84: 101-118.

Couper W (1881) Hymenoptera of the island of Montreal. The Canadian Sportsman and Naturalist 1(3): 19.

Walker EM (1913) Insects and their allies. Pp 295-403, in Faull JH (ed) The Natural History of the Toronto Region, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Institute, Toronto. 419 pp.

Sandhouse GA (1937) The bees of the genera Augochlora, Augochlropsis and Augochlorella (Hymenoptera; Apoidea) occurring in the United States. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 27: 65-79.

Pahlke S, Seid MA, Jaumann S, Smith A (2020) The loss of sociality Is accompanied by reduced neural investment in mushroom body volume in the sweat bee Augochlora pura (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America

Vachal J (1911) Étude sur les Halictus d’Amerique (Hym.). Miscellanea Entomologica 19(2): 9–116.

Crawford JC (1913) Descriptions of new Hymenoptera, no. 6. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 45(1979): 241-260.

Cockerell TDA (1897) Further notes on Augochlora. The Canadian Entomologist 29(3): 68-70.

Packer L, Genaro JA, Sheffield CS (2007) The bee genera of eastern Canada. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 3: 1-32.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Rotting Wood Excavator
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Mated Female

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Vaccinium angustifolium

Distribution: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Boreal Shield, Mixwood Plains