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Macropis ciliata Patton, 1880


Scientific Name: Macropis ciliata Patton, 1880

Common Name: Fringed Loosestrife Oil Bee


Macropis ciliata Patton, 1880a: 31 [♀, ♂].

     Syntypes ♀, ♂. USA, Connecticut, Waterbury and New Haven [MCZ no. 217]. 

Macropis longilingua Provancher, 1888: 424 [♀]. Synonymy by Snelling and Stage (1995: 27).

     Neotype ♀, designated by Snelling and Stage (1995: 27). USA, New York, Flatbush, 20 June 1896, by J.L. Zabriskie [AMNH no. AMNH_IZC 00324299].


Taxonomic notes: The syntype series (4 specimens) of M. ciliata Patton is at MCZ. The original type material of M. longilingua Provancher from Canada [Quebec, Cap Rouge] has been lost (see Snelling and Stage 1995: 27; Sheffield and Perron 2014: 135), so a neotype (a specimen of M. ciliata from New York) was designated by Snelling and Stage (1995: 27) to fix the name to a specimen. However, Provancher’s (1888: 424) brief description makes it difficult to confirm the synonymy, and Snelling and Stage (1995: 27) indicated that there was no certainty that it is even a Macropis, though Provancher described the hairs of the legs “avec poils blancs”, partially supporting the distinction between it and M. nuda (see Mitchell 1960: 526; Snelling and Stage 1995: 27; though the differences in mid and hind leg colour are restricted to the basitarsi only), but not necessarily between it and M. patellata Patton. Michener (1938: 133) thought that Provancher’s species, likely based on description, was a probably synonym of either M. ciliata or M. patellata (as did Snelling and Stage 1995: 27), but without having Provancher’s type material, its presence in Canada (INHS from NB) needs to be confirmed. Gibbs et al. (2023: XX) recently reported that the specimen from MB (at INHS) was a misidentified M. nuda (Provancher).

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): N/A

Biology: This species, like all bees of the genus Macropis, is a oligolege on oil producing flowers of the genus Lysimachia (Popov 1958; Cane et al. 1983; Michez and Patiny 2005; Dötterl and Schäffler 2006). This species is likely a host for the cleptoparasitic bee, Epeoloides pilosulus in Canada (Sheffield et al. 2004; Sheffield and Heron 2018).

Distribution in Canada: Not confirmed - Provancher 1888 [QC, as M. longilingua Provancher, type locality]; Mitchell 1960 [QC]; Sheffield and Heron 2018 [QC, specimen not found]. Gibbs et al. (2023) indicated that the specimen from MB in INHS is misidentified. NB?].

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) in Canada ( N/A

Index of Area of Occupancy (IAO) in Canada ( N/A



Provancher L (1888) Additions et Corrections au Volume II de la Faune Entomologique du Canada Traitant des Hyménoptères. Quebec, Darveau.

Cane JH, Eickwort GC, Wesley FR, Spielholz J (1983) Foraging, grooming and mate-seeking behaviors of Macropis nuda (Hymenoptera, Melittidae) and use of Lysimachia ciliata (Primulaceae) oils in larval provisions and cell linings. American Midland Naturalist 110(2): 257-264.

Michener CD (1938) A review of the American bees of the genus Macropis (Hymen., Apoidea). Psyche 45(2): 133-135.

Michez D, Patiny S (2005) World revision of the oil-collecting bee genus Macropis Panzer 1809 (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Melittidae) with a description of a new species from Laos. Annales de la Société entomologique de France (n.s.) 41(1): 15-28.

Patton WH (1880a) Descriptions of the species of Macropis. Entomologists Monthly Magazine 17: 31-35.

Sheffield C, Perron J (2014) Annotated catalogue of the bees described by Léon Provancher (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). The Canadian Entomologist 146 (2): 117-169.

Sheffield C, Rigby S, Smith R, Kevan P (2004) The rare cleptoparasitic bee Epeoloides pilosula (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apidae) discovered in Nova Scotia, Canada, with distributional notes. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 77(3): 161-164.

Snelling RR, Stage GI (1995) A revision of the Nearctic Melittidae: the subfamily Melittinae (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Los Angeles County Museum Contributions in Science 451: 19-31.

Dötterl S, Schäffler I (2006) Flower scent of floral oil-producing Lysimachia punctata as attractant for the oil-bee Macropis fulvipes. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33(2): 441-445.

Popov VB (1958) Peculiar features of correlated evolution of two genera of bees — Macropis and Epeoloides (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) — and a plant genus Lysimachia (Primulaceae). Entomological Review 37: 499-519.

Sheffield C, Heron J (2018) A new western Canadian record of Epeoloides pilosulus (Cresson), with discussion of ecological associations, distribution, and conservation status in Canada. Biodiversity Data Journal 6: e22837.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Narrow Oligolecty
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Lysimachia ciliata, Rhus glabra, Angelica venenosa

Distribution Map