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Lasioglossum helianthi (Cockerell, 1916)


Scientific Name: Lasioglossum helianthi (Cockerell, 1916)

Common Name: Sunflower Sweat Bee


Halictus helianthi Cockerell, 1916: 77 [♀].

     Holotype ♀. USA, California, Orange, 16 August 1915, by T.D.A. Cockerell, on Helianthus lenticulatus [USNM no.]. 

Lasioglossum (Dialictusimbrex Gibbs, 2010: 153 [♀]. Synonymy by Gardner and Gibbs (2021: 6).

     Holotype ♀. CANADA, British Columbia, Okanagan-Similkameen Reg. Dist., Osoyoos, Mt. Kruger, Strawberry Crk. Rd., N-site, N49.0421 W119.5114, 505 m, 16 July 2008, by L.R. Best [PCYU: LRB-2325].


Taxonomic notes: The ♂ was described by Gardner and Gibbs (2021: 6).

Lasioglossum helianthi was resurrected from synonymy with L. tegulariforme (Crawford, 1907) by Gardner and Gibbs (2021: 7). 

Cockerell (1916) named this species after the sunflowers Helianthus lenticularis Douglas ex Lindl. ( = Helianthus annuus L.) the type material was collected on (Gardner and Gibbs 2023: 95); the common name used here is derived from that.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAB0760

BIN BOLD:AAB0760 includes material from British Columbia identifed as L. helianthi and L. imbrex, and many other species from throughout North America, including L. tegulariforme, L. gaudiale, the eastern L. ellisiae (Sandhouse).

Biology: This species is likely eusocial like most other Lasioglossum, subgenus Dialictus. Gibbs (2010) indicated that this species (as L. imbrex) was uncommon in Canada.

Distribution in Canada: Gibbs 2010 [BC, AB, as Lasioglossum imbrex Gibbs, 2010]; Gardner and Gibbs 2021 [BC].

Gibbs (2010: 155) recorded L. imbrex from southern BC and one site in southern AB (Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park). Gardner and Gibbs (2021: 7) indicated that in Canada L. helianthi was found only west of the Rocky Mountains (BC); though not specifically stated by Gardner and Gibbs (2021), specimens identified as L. imbrex from AB in Gibbs (2010) represent L. stictaspis (Sandhouse, 1923). 

This species has also been recorded from the island of Hawai’i.

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) in Canada (  km2

Index of Area of Occupancy (IAO) in Canada (  km2 

Body length: ♀ 4.5 - 5.1 mm

Forewing length: ♀ 3.0 - 3.2 mm


Gibbs J (2010) Revision of the metallic species of Lasioglossum (Dialictus) in Canada (Hymenoptera, Halictidae, Halictini). Zootaxa 2591: 1-382.

Gardner J, Gibbs J (2021) New and little-known Canadian Lasioglossum (Dialictus) (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) and an emended key to species. The Canadian Entomologist 154(1), E3.

Cockerell TDA (1916) Sunflower insects in California and South Africa. The Canadian Entomologist 48(3): 76-79.

Gardner J, Gibbs J (2023) Revision of the Nearctic species of the Lasioglossum (Dialictus) gemmatum species complex (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). European Journal of Taxonomy 858: 1–222.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: British Columbia
Ecozone: Montane Cordillera, Western Interior Basin

Distribution Map