Bees of Canada Logo

Hoplitis robusta (Nylander, 1848)


Scientific Name: Hoplitis robusta (Nylander, 1848)

Common Name: Rhinoceros Mason Bee


Heriades robusta Nylander, 1848: 270 [♀].

     Lectotype ♀, designated by (Tkalcu 1995: ). FINLAND, “Helsingfors” (Finland) [Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki].

Osmia Rhinoceros Giraud, 1861: 464 [♀]. Synonymy by Schletterer (1889: 688).

     Syntypes ♀. AUSTRIA, “Gastein” [Giraud Collection].

Heriades trinacria Morawitz, 1869: 41 [♂] Synonymy by Popov (1946: ).

     Type ♂. RUSSIA, “im Gdowschen Kreise” [Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg].

Formicapis clypeata Sladen, 1916: 271 [♂‚ ♀]. Synonymy by Peters (1970: 193).

     Syntypes ♂‚ ♀. CANADA, Manitoba, Aweme, 6 July 1915, by Criddle; Alberta, Waterhole, 18 August 1915, by Strickland [CNC?].

Chelostoma (Formicapis) neomexicana Cockerell, 1922: 144 (not Chelostomaneomexicana Cockerell, 1904). Misidentification


Taxonomic notes: This species has a Holarctic distribution.

Cockerell (1922: 144) indicated that Chelostoma (Formicapis) neomexicana Cockerell, 1904 was the same species as Formicapis clypeata Sladen, 1916, and noted subtle differences in wing venation between Sladen’s type series specimens from MB and AB. Later in that work, he indicated that Formicapis Sladen, 1916 was deserving of genus rank (Cockerell 1922: 144). Subsequently, Michener (1938: 129) indicated that this was a misidentification, and that Chelostoma neomexicana Cockerell, 1904 was a valid species of Ashmeadiella (Arogochila) Michener, 1939.

Michener (1938: 130) incorrectly indicated that the type locality for Formicapis clypeata was Banff, AB, but that location was not listed in the syntype series by Sladen (1916: 271).

DNA Barcode Index Numbers (BIN): BOLD:ACF5245, BOLD:AAE5037

There are two BINs from Canada represented in BOLD, one seemingly restricted to Yoho National Park (BOLD:ACF5245), and the other widespread.

Biology: Clement and Rust (1975) described the nesting biology of this species in trap nests. It nests in pre-existing tunnels and uses masticated plant materials for both nest cell privisions and plugging the nest entrance (Clement and Rust 1975). It overwinters as a prepupa (Clement and Rust 1975).  Müller and Mauss (2016) indicated that this species was polylectic, but with a distinct preference for Potentilla (Rosaceae). Müller and Richter (2018) also reported this species nesting in a thin branch of a dead spruce (likely created by cerambycid beetles), and using DNA metabarcoding indicated that this species uses masticated leaves of Potentilla for nest construction, in addition to its main pollen source.

Distribution in Canada: Sladen 1916 [AB; but see Cockerell 1922, MB]; Gibson 1917 [AB, SK, MB]; Criddle et al. 1924 [AB, MB, as Formicapis neomexicanum Cockerell (= F. clypeata Sladen)]; Michener 1938 [AK, BC, AB, SK, MB]; Mitchell 1962 [AK to QC, as H. clypeata (Sladen)]; Evans 2013 [AB]; Hurd and Michener 1955 [AK, NT, BC, AB, SK]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [AB, SK, MB]; Rowe 2017 [YT, NT, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC]; Sheffield and Heron 2019 [BC]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB].


Mitchell TB (1962) Bees of the Eastern United States. Volume 2. North Carolina Agricultural Experimental Station Technical Bulletin 152, Raleigh, 557 pp.

Sheffield CS, Frier SD, Dumesh D (2014) The bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes) of the Prairies Ecozone, with comparisons to other grasslands of Canada. In: Giberson DJ, Cárcamo HA (Eds) Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. 4. Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, 479 pp. [ISBN 978-0-9689321-7-9].

Gibbs J, Hanuschuk E, Miller R, Dubois M, Martini M, Robinson S, Nakagawa P, Sheffield CS, Onuferko T (2023) A checklist of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 155: E3.

Clement SL, Rust RW (1975) The biology of Hoplitis robusta (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Entomological News 86(5/6): 115-120.

Tkalcu B (1995) Die Bienen der tribus Osmiini der Mongolei (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Megachilidae). Entomologische Abhandlungen 57: 109-147.

Sladen FWL (1916) Bees of Canada - Fam. Megachilidae. The Canadian Entomologist 48: 269–272.

Sheffield CS, Heron JM (2019) The bees of British Columbia (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes). Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 115: 44-85.

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

Gibson A (1917) The entomological record, 1916. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 47: 137-171.

Hurd PD, Michener CD (1955) The megachiline bees of California. Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 3: 1-247.

Schletterer A (1889) Monographie der Bienen-Gattungen Chelostoma Latr. und Heriades Spin. Zoologisches Jahrbuch für Systematik 4: 591-691.

Nylander W (1848) Adnotationes in expositionem monographicam apum borealium. Notiser ur Sällskapets pro Fauna et Flora Fennica Förhandlingar 1: 165-282.

Rowe G (2017) A taxonomic revision of the Canadian non-Osmia Osmiini (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). MSc Thesis, York University, Toronto. xv + 321 pp.

Giraud J (1861) Fragments entomologiques. Verhandlungen der Zoologischen und Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 11: 447–470.

Morawitz F (1869) Die Bienen des Gouvernements von St. Petersburg. Horae Societatis Entomologicae Rossicae 6: 27–71.

Müller A, Richter H (2018) Dual function of Potentilla (Rosaceae) in the life history of the rare boreoalpine osmiine bee Hoplitis (Formicapis) robusta (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). Alpine Entomology 2: 139–147.

Müller A, Mauss V (2016) Palaearctic Hoplitis bees of the subgenera Formicapis and Tkalcua (Megachilidae, Osmiini): biology, taxonomy and key to species. Zootaxa 4127(1): 105-120.

Peters DS (1970) Die Synonymie von Osmia robusta (Nylander 1848) und Osmia forsii Alfken 1924. Senckenbergiana Biologica 51: 193-197.

Popov VB (1946) Notes on the nomenclature of the bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London, B 15: 106-109.

Tkalcu B (1995) Die Bienen der Tribus Osmiini der Mongolei (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Megachilidae). Entomologische Abhandlungen 57: 109-147.

Cockerell TDA (1922) Some Canadian bees. The Canadian Entomologist 54(6): 143-144.

Michener CD (1938) The bees of the genera Chelostomopsis, Formicapis, Robertsonella and Prochelostoma (Hymen.: Megachilidae). Entomological News 49(5): 127-132.

Evans MM (2013) Influences of grazing and landscape on bee pollinators and their floral resources in rough fescue prairie. MSc Thesis, University of Calgary. ix + 119 pp.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Cavity Renter
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Potentilla sp.

Distribution: Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon
Ecozone: Boreal Cordillera, Boreal Plains, Hudson Plains, Montane Cordillera, Pacific Maritime, Prairie, Taiga Cordillera, Taiga Plains, Taiga Shield, Western Interior Basin

female; lateral view
female; lateral view
male; lateral view
male; lateral view
Nest of Hoplitis robusta (from Müller and Richter 2018).
Nest of Hoplitis robusta (from Müller and Richter 2018).

Distribution Map