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Neolarra pruinosa Ashmead, 1890


Scientific Name: Neolarra pruinosa Ashmead, 1890

Common Name: Frosty Fairy Cuckoo Bee


Neolarra pruinosa Ashmead, 1890: 8 [♂, not ♀].

     Holotype ♂. USA, Colorado, West Cliff, by T.D.A. Cockerell [USNM no. 56100].

Neolarra vittata Cockerell, 1916: 285 [♂] [synonymy by Michener 1939: 354].

     Holotype ♂. USA, New Mexico, Mesilla Park, 3800 ft., 7 May [no year provided], by T.D.A. Cockerell, on Dithyrea wislizeni [USNM?].


Taxonomic notes: The ♀ was described by Michener (1939: 354).

Shanks (1978: 226) incorrectly stated that Ashmead (1890: 8) misidentified the female holotype of N. pruinosa as a male, but later in the same work (Shanks 1978: 227) correctly indicated that the holotype is a male, as was indicated by Michener (1939: 354).

Cockerell (1916: 285) did not clearly designate a holotype for N. vittata Cockerell, nor did he indicate how many specimens were in the type series, though the infomration provided could suggest that there was only one specimen. In an earier work, Cockerell and Atkins (1902: 232) examined material they identified as N. pruinosa with the exact collection information as the material that would later become the type material of N. vittata, but again, the number of specimens was not provided (“description from material”). As indicated by Cockerell (1929: 104) and Michener (1939: 355), N. vittata is based upon a specimen that is a black form of N. pruinosa, which suggests a single specimen; Cockerell (1929: 104) indicated that the dark form was sex based (i.e., dark males). Shanks (1978: 228) also presumably examined this material, a male specimen matching the collecting information of Cockerell’s species from the USNM, though does not indicate that it was the holotype. It is quite likely that this specimen should be the holotype of Cockerell’s species.

Though Michener (1939: 354) reported his synonymy of N. vittata Cockerell under N. pruinosa as new, Cockerell (1929: 105) suggested as much ten years prior to Michener’s work.

Biology: Rozen (1965) discussed the biology of this species at the nest of one of its host, Perdita zebrata Cresson, 1878. Rozen (1966) described the larva.

Distribution in Canada: Michener 1939 [AB]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [AB]


Ashmead WH (1890) On the Hymenoptera of Colorado; descriptions of new species, notes, and a list of the species found in the state. Bulletin of the Colorado Biological Association 1: 3-46.

Cockerell TDA (1916) Descriptions and records of bees.—LXXI. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 8 17(100): 277-287.

Cockerell TDA, Adkins E (1902) Contributions from the New Mexico biological station—XII. On some genera of bees. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7 9(51): 230-234.

Cockerell TDA (1929) Some Californian parasitic bees. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 5(3): 101-105.

Michener CD (1939) A revision of the genus Neolarra (Hymenoptera: Nomadidae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 65(4): 347-362.

Shanks SS (1978) A revision of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Neolarra (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). The Wasmann Journal of Biology 35(2): 212-246.

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta
Ecozone: Prairie

Distribution Map