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Megachile onobrychidis Cockerell, 1908


Scientific Name: Megachile onobrychidis Cockerell, 1908

Common Name: Sainfoin Leafcutter Bee


Megachile onobrychidis Cockerell, 1908: 266 [♂].

     Holotype ♂. USA, New Mexico, Mesilla Park, 25 April 1895, by T.D.A. Cockerell, on Onobrychis [Cockerell].


Taxonomic notes: The ♀ was described by Mitchell (1935: 18).

Cockerell (1914: 431) later indicated that his Megachile onobrychidis Cockerell, 1918 was a subspecies of M. perbrevis Cresson, 1878 [= Megachile brevis Say, 1837]. Mitchell (1935: 14) listed M. perbrevis as a junior synonym of M brevis but supported Cockerell (1914: 431) in considering M. onobrychidis as a variety (Mitchell 1935: 18), a classification followed by Buckell (1950: 26). Michener (1951: 1172) reinstated it as a valid species, though subsequently (Michener 1953: 1663) reduced its rank to subspecies due to it integrading with the typical M. brevis in parts of its range (Nebraska, Texas to Pacific), subsequently followed by Krombein (1958: 244) and Hurd (1979: 2052). Sheffield et al. (2011: 41) recognized it as a valid species based on 5.47% sequence divergence in COI, a classification subsequently followed by Bzdyk (2012: 50) and Sheffield and Genaro (2013: 2, 14).

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAC8851

Biology: Bohart (1957: 368) listed this as an important alfalfa pollinator and indicated that it nested in the soil of clods and stoned.

Distribution in Canada: Mitchell 1935 [BC]; Buckell 1950 [BC]; Sheffield et al. 2011 [BC]; Bzdyk 2012 [BC]; Elwell 2012 [BC]; Sheffield and Heron 2019 [BC].


Cockerell TDA (1914) Descriptions and records of bees.-LVIII. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8 13(76): 424-433.

Michener CD (1953) The biology of a leafcutter bee (Megachile brevis) and its associates. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 35: 1659-1748.

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.

Hurd PD (1979) Superfamily Apoidea. In: Krombein KV, Hurd Jr PD, Smith DR, Burks BD (Eds) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 2735 pp.

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.

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

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

Michener CD (1951) Family Megachilidae. In: Muesebeck CF, Krombein KV, Townes HK (Eds) Hymenoptera of America north of Mexico Synoptic Catalog. 2. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Monograph, Washington. Pp. 1136-1186.

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

Elwell SL (2012) The effects of livestock grazing and habitat type on plant-pollinator communities of British Columbia’s Endangered Shrubsteppe. MSc Thesis, Simon Fraser University. X + 110 pp.

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.

Bohart GE (1957) Pollination of alfalfa and red clover. Annual Review of Entomology 2: 355-380.

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.

Sheffield CS, Genaro JA (2013) A new species of Megachile (Litomegachile) from Cuba, the Antilles (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Journal of Melittology 19: 1-17.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: British Columbia
Ecozone: Pacific Maritime, Western Interior Basin

Distribution Map