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

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: ]. 

     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: ].

     Syntypes ♂‚,♀. CANADA, Manitoba, Aweme; Alberta, Waterhole [CNC?].

Species Notes

This species is considered to have a Holarctic distribution.

The DNA Barcode Index Numbers (BIN) for this species are BOLD:ACF5245 and BOLD:AAE5037. There are two BINs from Canada represented in BOLD, one seemingly restricted to Yoho National Park (BOLD:ACF5245), and the other widespread.



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.



Clement SL, Rust RW (1975) The biology of Hoplitis robusta (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Entomological News 86(5/6): 115-120. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/part/57234

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. https://doi.org/10.3897/alpento.2.30158

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4127.1.5

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

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3113.1946.tb00834.x

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

Sladen FWL (1916) Bees of Canada - Fam. Megachilidae. The Canadian Entomologist 48: 269–272. http://dx.doi.org/10.4039/Ent48269-8

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

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