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Megachile parallela Smith, 1853


Scientific Name: Megachile parallela Smith, 1853

Common Name: Parallel Leafcutter Bee


Megachile parallela Smith, 1853: 191 [♂].

     Holotype ♂. USA, Georgia [BMNH no 1879-22].

Megachile facunda Cresson, 1872: 266 [♂]. Synonymy by Cockerell (1913: 536),

     Lectotype ♂, designated by Cresson (1916: 118). USA, Texas, by Belfrage [ANSP no. 2426].

Megachile 6-dentata Robertson, 1895: 125 [♂] (not Megachile sexdantata Friese, 1903). Synonymy by Cockerell (1913: 536).

     Holotype ♂. USA, Illinois [INHS].

Megachile sexdentata Cockerell, 1902: 49. Emended name.

Megachile verbesinae Cockerell, 1908: 264 [♀]. Synonymy by P.H. Timberlake, in Mitchell (1944: 132).

     Holotype ♀. USA, New Mexico, Upper Rio Grande, at Rinconada, 26 September [no year provided], on Verbesina exauriculata, by T.D.A. Cockerell [CAS no. 15660].

Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. reta Mitchell, 1937: 48. Lapsus of Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. rita Mitchell, 1937 in key.

Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. rita Mitchell, 1937: 53 [♀]. Synonymy of Megachile parallela facunda Cresson, 1872 by Michener (1951: 1179); of Megachile parallela Smith, 1853 by Hurd (1979: 2066).

     Holotype ♀. USA, California, Mt. Santiago, 19 September 1926, by P.H. Timberlake, on Ericameria parishii [USNM no. 44251].

Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. tulariana Mitchell, 1937: 53 [♀]. Synonymy by Gonzalez and Griswold (2007: 4).

     Holotype ♀. USA, California, Tulare Co., Lemon Cove, 500 ft., 9-11 July 1907, by J.C. Bradley [Cornell, no. 1111].

Megachile (Argyropile) asterae Mitchell, 1943: 13 [♀]. Synonymy by Gonzalez and Griswold (2007: 4).

     Holotype ♀. USA, Utah, Kaibab Forest, 21 September 1938, by I. McCracken, on blue Aster [CAS no. 5233].

Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. reta Mitchell, 1943: 16. Lapsus of Megachile (Argyropile) parallela var. rita Mitchell, 1937.


Taxonomic notes: Cockerell (1900: 11) had previously considered Megachile facunda Cresson, 1872 a synonymy of M. pruina Smith, 1853 (now placed in the subgenus Pseudocentron) presumably based on a misidentification of the latter by Cresson (1872: 48), though Cockerell had indicated affinity to M. townsendiana Cockerell, 1898 (Cockerell 1900: 11), which is also in the subgenus Argyropile Mitchell, 1934. Cockerell (1913: 536) later indicated that M. pruina had incorrectly been associated with M. parallella Smith, 1853 as its ♀, though indicated that Megachile sexdentata Robertson, 1895 was the ♀; though Robertson’s species was described from the ♂, the ♀ was known to Cockerell (1902: 49) and was keyed to what is now known as Argyropile.

Hurd (1979: 2066) recorded the synonymy of M. facunda under M. parallela Smith, 1853 as new, which was subsequently supported by Gonzalez and Griswold (2007: 4), though Cockerell (1913: 536) indicated as much for that species and Megachile sexdentata Robertson, 1895, so is credited with the synonymy.

Cockerell (1908: 265) provided the following information on the holotype of his Megachile verbesinae Cockerell, 1908: “Upper Rio Grande, at Rinconada, New Mexico, at flowers of Verbesina exauriculata, Sept. 26 [no year provided] (Cockerell).” Mitchell (1944: 132) recorded a ♀ specimen of M. parallela from Sonoita, Arizona collected on 9 August 1940 by P.H. Timberlake from Verbesina which was apparently compared to the type of M. verbesinae by P.H. Timberlake, supporting the synonymy above; the information from this Arizona specimen of M. parallela was incorrectly recorded as the type locality of M. verbesinae by Gonzalez and Griswold (2007: 4).

Biology. The nesting biology was studied by Fischer (1951: 49) and Medler and Lussenhop (1968: 26). Gonzalez and Griswold (2007) record Trochometridium tribulatum Cross (Acari, Trochometridiidae) as an associate of female M. parallela, as it has been taken from legs, propodeum and the metasoma.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN):BOLD:AAM2500

Distribution in Canada: Gibson 1917 [BC, AB, SK]; Criddle et al. 1924 [BC, AB, SK, as M. pruina Smith]; Mitchell 1937 [BC, AB, SK], 1962 [BC]; Buckell 1950 [BC]; Sheffield et al. 2011 [BC, AB, SK], 2014 [AB, SK]; Sheffield and Heron 2019 [BC].


Cockerell TDA (1900) The New Mexico bees of the genus Megachile and a new Andrena. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7 6(31): 7-20.

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

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

Gonzalez VH, Griswold TL (2007) A review of the North and Central American Megachile subgenus Argyropile Mitchell (Hymenoptera: Megachildae). Zootaxa 1461: 1-14.

Medler JT, Lussenhop JF (1968) Leaf-cutter bees of Wisconsin (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). University of Wisconsin Research Bulletin 274: 1-80.

Mitchell TB (1937) A revision of the genus Megachile in the Nearctic region. Part VI. Taxonomy of subgenera Argyropile, Leptorachis, Pseudocentron, Acentron and Melanosarus (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 63(1): 45-83.

Mitchell TB (1943) Records and descriptions in the megachilid subgenus Argyropile (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 19(1): 12-16.

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.

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

Robertson C (1895) Notes on bees, with descriptions of new species. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 22(2): 115-128.

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].

Smith F (1853) Catalogue of Hymenopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London, 198 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.

Criddle N, Curran CH, Viereck HL, Buckell ER (1924) The entomological record, 1923. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 54: 87-102.

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.

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

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

Robertson C (1902) Some new or little-known bees—II. The Canadian Entomologist 34(2): 48-49.

Mitchell TB (1944) New species and records in Megachile (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 20(4): 132-143.

Fischer RL (1951) Observations on the nesting habitats of megachilid bees. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 24: 46-50.

Cockerell TDA (1905) Notes on some bees in the British Museum. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 31(4): 309-364.

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: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Montane Cordillera, Pacific Maritime, Prairie, Western Interior Basin