female; lateral view

Scientific Name: Brachymelecta californica (Cresson, 1878)

Common Name: California Digger-Cuckoo Bee


Melecta californica Cresson, 1878a: 91 [♀, ♂]

     Lectotype ♂. [designated by Cresson 1916: 114]. USA, California, H. Edwards, Behrens [ANSP no. 2292].

Melecta? mucida Cresson, 1879: 205 [♂]. [synonymy by Onuferko et al. 2021: 13].

     Holotype ♂. USA, Nevada, by Morrison [ANSP no. 2294]

Melecta miranda Fox, 1893: 143 [♀] [subspecies of M. californica by Cockerell (1910c) and Linsley (1939b), synonymy by Hurd and Linsley 1951: 128]

     Syntypes ♀. USA, South Dakota, Rapid City and Custer, by J.T. Aldrich [ANSP no. 10129].

Pseudomelecta pasadenensis Cockerell 1910c: 27 [♀] [synonymy by Hurd and Linsley 1951: 128]

     Holotype ♀. USA, California, Pasadena, 30 April 1909, by F. Grinnell, Jr. [].

*Melecta sladeni Viereck 1924: 15 [♀] [synonymy by Cockerell and Sandhouse 1924: 323 [with Pseudomelecta pasadenensis Cockerell ]; Linsley (1939)]

     Holotype ♀. CANADA, British Columbia, Summerland, 9 August 1916, by F.W.L. Sladen [CNC no. 652].


Species Notes

The DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN) for this species is BOLD:AAC6481, though a second BIN, BOLD:AAC6482 also has been assigned to this species, including for material from Saskatchewan. 



This species is a cleptoparasite of Anthophora bomboides, A. edwardsi, A. occidentalis, and A. urbana (Hurd and Linsley 1951).



Cockerell TDA (1910) IV.—Descriptions and records of bees—XXIV. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (8)5: 22‑30. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222931008692722

Cockerell TDA, Sandhouse G (1924) Parasitic bees (Epeolinae and Melectinae) in the collection of the California Academy of Sciences. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 13(16): 305-324. 

Cresson ET (1878) Descriptions of new North American Hymenoptera in the collection of the American Entomological Society. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 7: 61-136. https://doi.org/10.2307/25076368

Cresson ET (1916) The Cresson Types of Hymenoptera. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 1: 1-141.

Fox WJ (1893) Synopsis of the North American species of Melecta. Entomological News 4: 143-144.

Hurd PD Jr., Linsley EG (1951) The melectine bees of California (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 1(5): 119-140.

Linsley EG (1939) A revision of the Nearctic Melectinae. Annals of the Entomologcal Society of America 32(2): 429-468. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/32.2.429

Onuferko TM, Packer L, Genaro JA (2021) Brachymelecta Linsley, 1939, previously the rarest North American bee genus, was described from an aberrant specimen and is the senior synonym for Xeromelecta Linsley, 1939. European Journal of Taxonomy 754: 1–51. https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2021.754.1393

Viereck HL (1924) Descriptions of two Canadian bees of the genus Melecta. The Canadian Entomologist 56(1): 15. https://doi.org/10.4039/Ent5615-1

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Prairie, Western Interior Basin

Distribution Map