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Melissodes apicatus Lovell and Cockerell, 1906


Scientific Name: Melissodes apicatus Lovell and Cockerell, 1906

Common Name: Pickerelweed Long-horned Bee


Melissodes apicata Lovell and Cockerell, 1906: 111 [♀].

     Holotype ♀. USA, Maine, Waldoboro, 21 July 1904, by J.H. Lovell, on Pontederia cordata [USNM no. 71577].


Taxonomic notes: The ♂ was described by LaBerge (1956: 553).

Covell (1972: 15) misspelled the type locality as Waldeboro.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): N/A

Biology: LaBerge (1956: 554; 1963: 233) and Moldenke (1979: 415) indicated that Melissodes apicatus Lovell and Cockerell, 1906 was an oligolege of pickerelweed (Pontederia), though the latter also recorded in on other plant species, including Cirsium sp. Melilotus alba, Oenothera speciosa. and Stachys floridana, which likely are used for nectar. This association has been confirmed in QC by Payette (2002), and in ON, where specimens were collected in Georgian Bay Islands on pickerelweed (pers. observation). Richards et al. (2011) report collecting it on flowers of Centaurea nigra, Hypericum perforatum, and Melilotus officinalis.

Veit et al. (2022) reported Triepeolus obliteratus Graenicher, 1911 as a nest parasite of this species.

Distribution in Canada: Wolfe and Barrett 1987, 1988, 1989 [ON]; Harder and Barrett 1992 [ON]; Payette 2002 [QC]; Richards et al. 2011 [ON].


Richards MH, Rutgers-Kelly A, Gibbs J, Vickruck JL, Rehan SM, Sheffield CS (2011) Bee diversity in naturalizing patches of Carolinian grasslands in southern Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 143(3): 279-299.

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.

Lovell JH, Cockerell TDA (1906) Notes on the bees of southern Maine: Anthophoridae, Halictoididae, Macropidae and Panurgidae. Psyche 13(5): 109-113.

LaBerge WE (1956) A revision of the bees of the genus Melissodes in North and Central America. Part I. (Hymenoptera, Apidae). The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37(18): 911-1194.

LaBerge WE (1963) New species and records of little-known species of Melissodes from North America (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). Bulletin of the University of Nebraska State Museum 4(10): 227-242.

Wolfe LM, Barrett SCH (1987) Pollinator foraging behavior and pollen collection on the floral morphs of tristylous Pontederia cordata L. Oecologia 74: 347-351.

Wolfe LM, Barrett SCH (1988) Temporal changes in the pollinator fauna of tristylous Pontederia cordata, and aquatic plant. Canadian Journal of Zoology 66(6): 1421-1424.

Wolfe LM, Barrett SCH (1989) Patterns of pollen removal and deposition in tristylous Pontedera cordata L. (Pontederiaceae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 36(4): 317-329.

Harder LD, Barrett SCH (1992) The energy cost of bee pollination for Pontederia cordata (Pontederiaceae). Functional Ecology 6(2): 226-233.

Payette A (2002) Première mention de l’abeille Melissodes apicata Lovell et Cockerell (Hymenoptera : Apidae) pour le Québec. Fabreries 27(2): 81-85.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Melilotus albus, Hypericum sp., Melilotus officinalis, Pontederia cordata, Stachys sp., Centaurea sp.

Distribution: Ontario, Quebec
Ecozone: Mixwood Plains

Distribution Map