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Hylaeus nelumbonis (Robertson, 1890)


Scientific Name: Hylaeus nelumbonis (Robertson, 1890)

Common Name: Nelumbo Masked Bee


Prosopis nelumbonis Robertson, 1890: 318 [♀].

     Lectotype ♀, designated by W.E. LaBerge, in Webb (1980: 113). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 12 August 1889, by C. Robertson [ANSP, Robertson no. 8997].


Taxonomic notes: Metz (1911: 151) indicated that the ♂ of Hylaeus nelumbonis (Robertson, 1890) also has a ferruginous base of the abdomen but noted that it had not yet been desceibed. The ♂ was described by Mitchell (1960: 67).

Specimens in the syntype series were collected on Nymphaea reniformis and Nelumbo lutea (Robertson, 1890: 318), though floral information was not provided for the lectotype (Webb 1980: 113). Robertson (1929: 146) indicated that the “type” was collected on Nelumbo lutea but did not indicate whether he was referring to the type series (four specimens) or a specific specimen.

Metz (1911: 136) indicated that his P. fossata Metz, 1911 was possibly the same as P. nelumbonis Robertson, 1890; only the female of the latter was described at that time. This was likely due to the female of P. fossata having a ferruginous base of the abdomen (Metz 1911: 136); though not specifically mentioned for the male holotype of H. fossata, it also shares a ferruginous metasomal base. Crawford (1913: 155) subsequently considered P. fossata a synonym of H. nelumbonis which was subsequently followed by Michener (1951: 1051); this synonymy was likely based on Metz’s (Metz 1911: 136) description as having the collar entirely dark and the ferruginous base of the abdomen. T.B. Mitchell (in Krombein 1958: 212) indicated that the female of P. fossata was a specimen of H. ornatus Mitchell, 1951; as the holotype of P. fossata is the male [USNM no. 00534914] and the sexes were incorrectly associated, the latter name hase priority. Both sexes of H. ornatus have the ferruginous colour limited to tergum 1 (Mitchell 1951: 242, 1960: 68) () while in H. nelumbonis, tergum 1 and most of tergum 2 are red (Mitchell 1960: 67), though this may not always be the case (see DNA barcoding section below).

Interestingly Krombein (1958: 212) also determined that the male holotype of P. fossata was a junior synonym of Hylaeus schwarzii Cockerell, 1896, a species that shares the dark collar (Mitchell 1960: 62) but has the metasoma entirely dark (Mitchell 1960: 62). However, the holotype male of H. fossata has tergum 1 ferruginous, or at least not concolourous with terga 2-7, not entirely black. Though Mitchell (1960: 69) indicated both species were closely related, he distinguished them mainly by the colour of the base of the metasoma. The holotype male of P. fossata should be re-examined for morphological consistency with both H. nelumbonis and H. schwarzii to confirm the synonymy of Krombein (1958).

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAX2614

This BIN corresponds to specimens having the collar entirely black (as per H. nelumbonis, and H. schwarzii), and tergum 1 ferruginous (tergum 1 and 2 is what was described for H. nelumbonis (see Mitchell 1960)), or entirely black (as is H. schwarzii). This results support the synonymy of H. schwarzii and H. fossata under H. nelumbonis, though morphological comparison of type material is required.

Distribution in Canada: Romankova 2007 [ON]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [MB]; Normandin et al. 2017 [QC]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB].


Crawford JC (1913) Notes on somes species of the genus Prosopis. The Canadian Entomologist 45(5): 154-156.

Krombein KV (1958) Superfamily Apoidea. In: Krombein KV. Hymenoptera of America North of Mexico Synoptic Catalog (Agriculture Monograph No. 2). First supplement . United States Government Printing Office, Washington. Pp. 204-261.

Metz CW (1911) A revison of the genus Prosopis in North America. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 37(2): 85-156.

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

Normandin É, Vereecken NJ, Buddle CM, Fournier V (2017) Taxonomic and functional trait diversity of wild bees in different urban settings. PeerJ 5: e3051.

Robertson C (1890) New North American bees of the genera Halictus and Prosopis. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 17(4): 315-318.

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.

Webb DW (1980) Primary insect types in the Illinois Natural History Survey Collection, exclusinve of the Collemboa and Thysanoptera. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 32(2): 55-191.

Robertson C (1929) Flowers and Insects. Lists of Visitors of Four Hundred and Fifty-three Flowers. The Science Press Printing Company, Lancaster, PA. 221 pp.

Romankova TG (2007) Bees of the genus Hylaeus of Ontario (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Colletidae). Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 138: 137-154.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Cavity Renter

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec
Ecozone: Boreal Shield, Mixwood Plains, Prairie

Distribution Map