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Megachile gentilis Cresson, 1872


Scientific Name: Megachile gentilis Cresson, 1872

Common Name: Gentile Leafcutter Bee


Megachile gentilis Cresson, 1872: 267 [♂].

     Lectotype ♂, designated by Cresson (1916: 119). USA, Texas, by Belfrage [ANSP no. 2720].

Megachile palmarum Perkins, 1899: 114 [♂, ♀]. Synonymy by Mitchell (1935: 23).

     Syntypes ♂, ♀. USA, Hawaiian Islands [Bishop Museum?].

Megachile murinella Cockerell, 1908: 263 [♀]. Synonymy by

     Holotype ♀. USA, New Mexico, Mesilla Park, 2 September 1898, by T.D.A. Cockerell [USNM no. 29383].


Taxonomic notes: Dalla Torre (1896: 422) recorded Megachile gentilis Cresson, 1872 as a synonym of M. brevis Say, 1837, though it has been considered a valid species since Mitchell (1934: 301) proposed and then revised (Mitchell 1935) the subgenus.

Cockerell (1920: 120) compared specimens of Megachile palmarum Perkins, 1899 from Hawaii provided by R.C.L. Perkins (scopal hairs reddish) and P.H. Timberlake (scopal hairs creamy-white) and compared these to M. timberlakei Cockerell, 1920, which he was describing as new. He indicated that due to variation in scopal hair colouration in the material from Perkins and Timberlake, some of the ♀ specimens in the type series of M. palmarum likely were M. timberlakei (an opinion shared by Timberlake 1921: 555), and he recommended that a ♂ should be designated the type (Cockerell 1920: 120), though this has not been done.

Mitchell (1935: 24) subsequently indicated that M. palmarum Perkins, 1899 likely represents specimens that were introduced from North American to the Hawaiian Islands, likely based on Timberlake’s (1921: 551, 554) mention that R.C.L. Perkins had recorded it from California; this opinion was also supported by Snelling (2003: 353).

Bzdyk (2012: 44) incorrectly recorded the type material for M. gentilis as a holotype ♂; as Cresson (1872: 267) included seven specimens in his syntype series, a lectotype was later designated (Cresson 1916: 119).

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAF3954

Biology: In Hawaii, this species (as Megachile palmarum Perkins, 1899) has been observed nesting in palm leaves (including coconut) that have been rolled by pyralid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) (Perkins 1899: 115), the structure described in detail by Timberlake (1921: 554). Williams (1926: 433, citing Perkins 1906) indicated that it could be destructive to ornamental plants in Honolulu, presumably based on its leaf-cutting behaviour.

Burks (1963: 57) recorded Tetrastichus megachildis Burks, 1963 (Hymenoptera, Eulophidae) as a nest parasite in trap nests.

Distribution in Canada: Buckell 1950 [BC]; Sheffield et al. 2011 [BC]; Sheffield and Heron 2019 [BC].

Bzdyk (2012) did not record this species from Canada, despite earlier documentation.


Cresson ET (1872) Hymenoptera Texana. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 4: 153-292.

Mitchell TB (1934) A revision of the genus Megachile in the Nearctic region. Part I. Classification and descriptions of new species (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 59(4): 295-361.

Mitchell TB (1935) A revision of the genus Megachile in the Nearctic region. Part II. Morphology of the male sternites and genital armature and the taxonomy of the subgenera Litomegachile, Neomegachile and Cressoniella. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 61(1): 1-44.

Dalla Torre CG (1896) Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Volume X: Apidae (Anthophila). Engelmann, Leipzig, 644 pp.

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

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

Cockerell TDA (1908) Descriptions and records of bees.—XVIII. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8 1(3): 259-267.

Snelling RR (2003) Bees of the Hawaiian Islands, exclusive of Hylaeus (Nesoprosopis) (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 76(3): 342-356.

Buckell ER (1950) Record of bees from British Columbia: Megachilidae. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 46: 21-31.

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.

Bzdyk EL (2012) A revision of the Megachile subgenus Litomegachile Mitchell with an illustrated key and description of a new species (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae, Megachilini). ZooKeys 221: 31-61.

Burks BD (1963) Ten new reared species of Tetrastichus (Hymenoptera, Eulophidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 76: 47-58.

Cockerell TDA (1920b) A new leaf-cutting bee from the Hawaiian Islands. The Canadian Entomologist 52(5): 119-120.

Timberlake PH (1921) Notes on the Hawaiian bees of the genus Megachile (Hymenoptera. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 4(3): 551-557.

Perkins RCL (1899) Hymenoptera Aculeata. In Sharp D (ed.) Fauna Hawaiiensis of the Zoology of the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Isles. Cambridge University Press, London. pp. 1-115.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: British Columbia
Ecozone: Western Interior Basin