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Megachile gemula gemula Cresson, 1878


Scientific Name: Megachile gemula gemula Cresson, 1878

Common Name: Small Handed Leafcutter Bee


Megachile gemula Cresson, 1878: 118 [♂, not ♀].

     Lectotype ♂, designated by Cresson (1916: 119). USA, Georgia, by Morrison [ANSP no. 2425].

Megachile mucida Cresson, 1878: 118 [♀]. Misidentified.

Megachile avara Cresson, 1878: 123 [♂]. Synonymy by Mitchell (1935: 181).

     Lectotype ♂, desginated by Cresson (1916: 112). USA, Georgia, by Morrison [ANSP no. 2416].

Megachile albula Lovell and Cockerell, 1907: 18 [♂]. Synonymy by Cockerell (1913: 531) as a subspecies of Megachile gemula Cresson, 1878; synonymy by Mitchell (1935: 181).

     Lectotype ♂, designated by Covell (1972: 14). USA, Maine, Waldoboro, 30 July [no year provided], by J.H. Lovell, on Epilobium angustifolium [USNM no. 71575].


Taxonomic notes: Cockerell (1904: 34) speculated that Megachile avara Cresson, 1878, at that time known from the ♂, might (with low probablity) be the valid name for his Megachile latimanus grindeliarum Cockerell, 1904 (= M. perihirta Cockerell, 1898).

Cockerell (1913: 531) subsequently considered M. albula Lovell and Cockerell, 1907 a subspecies of M. gemula Cresson, 1878, indicating that the typical form had black hair on the outer sides of the hind tibia and tarsi, and the middle tibia covered with black hair, contrasted with M. albula with hair on the middle tarsi being pale reddish, with at least the hind tibiae pale haired on the outer side. He also noted that M. gemula had tergum 2 with black hair at the sides and along the posterior margin, but mainly pale in M. albula.

 Mitchell (1935: 181) clarified the confusion among M. gemula Cresson, 1878, and two other species, M. mucida Cresson, 1878 and M. vidua resulting in errors in associating the sexes; the ♂ of M. gemula was desginated as the lectotype by Cresson (1916: 119) while the ♀ described under the name M. gemula is a variety of M. vidua; the ♀ originally described under the name M. mucida is the female of M. gemula (see Mitchell 1935: 181).

Covell (1972: 14) incorrectly spelled Waldoboro as “Waldeboro” as the type locality for Megachile albula Lovell and Cockerell, 1907.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAE1383

Distribution in Canada: Gibson 1917 [ON, NB]; Mitchell 1935b [NT, ON, QC, NB, NS], 1962 [Mackenzie to NS]; Sheffield et al. 2003, 2009 [NS], 2011 [AK, YT, NT, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PE, NS], 2014 [AB, SK, MB]; Normandin et al. 2017 [QC]; Vizza et al. 2021 [NU, ON]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB]; BOLD [MB, ON, NS].

Based on the recognition of the western subspecies Megachile gemula vancouveriensis Provancher, 1888, earlier records of Megachile gemula from BC (Gibson 1917; Mitchell 1935; Sheffield et al. 2011; Sheffield and Heron 2019) likely refer to that taxon.


Cockerell TDA (1913) Descriptions and records of bees.—LII. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8 11(66): 530-542.

Lovell JH, Cockerell TDA (1907) The Megachilidae of Southern Maine. Psyche 14(1): 15-21.

Mitchell TB (1935) A revision of the genus Megachile in the Nearctic region. Part III. Taxonomy of the subgenera Anthemois and Delomegachile (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 61(3): 155-205.

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

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

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].

Sheffield CS, Hebert PD, Kevan PG, Packer L (2009) DNA barcoding a regional bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) fauna and its potential for ecological studies. Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 196-207.

Sheffield CS, Kevan PG, Smith RF, Rigby SM, Rogers RE (2003) Bee species of Nova Scotia, Canada, with new records and notes on bionomics and floral relations (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 76(2): 357-384.

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.

Cresson ET (1916) The Cresson types of Hymenoptera. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 1: 1-141.

Covell CV (1972) A catalog of the J.H. Lovell types of Apoidea with lectotype designations (Hymenoptera). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 74(1): 10-18.

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

Cresson ET (1878) Descriptions of new North American Hymenoptera in the collection of the American Entomological Society. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 7: 61–136.

Vizza KM, Beresford DV, Hung KJ, Schaefer JA, MacIvor JS (2021) Wild bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) from remote surveys in northern Ontario and Akimishi Island, Nunavut including four new regional records. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 152: 57-80.

Sheffield CS, Ratti C, Packer L, Griswold T (2011) Leafcutter and mason bees of the genus Megachile Latreille (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in Canada and Alaska. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 18: 1-107.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Vaccinium angustifolium

Distribution: Alaska, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Boreal Plains, Boreal Shield, Hudson Plains, Mixwood Plains, Montane Cordillera, Prairie, Taiga Plains, Taiga Shield