Bees of Canada Logo

Nomada cuneata (Robertson, 1903)


Scientific Name: Nomada cuneata (Robertson, 1903)

Common Name: Cuneate Nomad Bee


Gnathias cuneatus Robertson, 1903: 175 [♀, ♂].

     Lectotype , designated by W.E. LaBerge, in Webb (1980: 109). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 19 April 1890, by C.A. Robertson [INHS no. 9119, INHS Insect Collection 179586].

Gnathias cuneatus form decemnotatus Robertson, 1903: 175 [♀].

     Type ♀. USA, Illinois, Carlinville [specimen lost, according to Webb (1980: 109)].

Gnathias cuneatus form octonotatus Robertson, 1903: 175 [♀].

     Lectotype , designated by W.E. LaBerge, in Webb (1980: 109). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 19 April 1890, by C.A. Robertson [INHS no. 9119].

Gnathias cuneatus form sexnotatus Robertson, 1903: 176 [♀].

     Holotype ♀. USA, Carlinville, 21 May 1888, by C. Robertson [INHS, INHS Insect Collection 179588].

Gnathias cuneatus form quadrisignatus Robertson, 1903: 176 [♀].

     Lectotype , designated by W.E. LaBerge, in Webb (1980: 109). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 17 April 1888, by C.A. Robertson [INHS no. 7355, INHS Insect Collection 179589].

Nomada (Gnathias) cuniata var. e. Lovell and Cockerell, 1905: 40 [♀]. Unjustifed emendation of Nomada cuneata (Robertson, 1903).

     Holotype . USA, Maine, Lincoln Co., Waldoboro, 18 May [no year provided] [???].


Taxonomic notes: Cockerell (1899: 156) commented on the size variation in Nomada maculata Cresson, 1863, later indicating (Cockerell 1903: 601) that the smaller sized ones represented a different species which Robertson (1903) described as Nomada cuneata (Robertson, 1903). However, Robertson (1903: 175) described ♀s of four forms based on the presence and location of tergal maculations, the “form” epithet indicating the total number of spots; unfortunately, the number of spots on the typical from of Gnathias cuneatus Robertson, 1903 was not mentioned, though the forms seemingly all had the pattern of tergum 2 resembling that of the typical form (Cresson 1903: 175). Mitchell (1962: 340, 347) subsequently keyed and described the ♀ of the typical form as having tergal maculations on terga 2 and 3 only, thus being consistent with form quadrisignatus Robertson, 1903; other accounts have recognited N. cuneata and N. cuneata form (or var.) quadrisignatus as distinct from one another (Criddle et al. 1924, Criddle 1925; Leonard 1928).

In his key to Nomada in Colorado, Cockerell (1905: 71) separated the ♀s of N. lepida Cresson, 1863 and N. cuneata based on differences in the colour of the tegula and scutellum, and on page 75 indicated that it might be necessariy to consider the latter a subspecies of the former. Subsequently, Cockerell (1911: 656) treated Robertson’s taxon as a subspecies of Nomada lepida Cresson, 1863. Swenk (1913: 92) agreed, though treated Gnathias cuneatus Robertson as a junior synonym of N. lepida, a classification followed by Rodeck (1951: 1195). Swenk (1913: 94) also indicated that Robertson’s colour forms were present in the state of Nebraska, as [N. cuneata] 10-notata, 8-notata, 6-notata, and 4-signata, but also indicated the presence of a form with maculations limited to tergum 2; Lovell and Cockerell (1905: 40) had previously described a ♀ ofN. (Gnathias) cuneata [as cuniata] Rob. var. e. having maculations limited to tergum 2; unfortunately, there seems to be no type specimen recognized for this taxon [see Covell 1972].

Though Mitchell (1962: 347), Krombien (1967: 496), Hurd (1979: 2103), and Alexander and Schwarz (1994: 246) list all of Robertson’s forms a synonyms of N. cuneata, which is treated as a valid species, Ascher and Pickering (2024) have forms decemnotatus Robertson 1903, octonotatus Robertson 1903, and sexnotatus Robertson 1903 listed as erroneous synonymies, seemingly based on the number of tergal maculations; this may be true, though the Gnathias Robertson, 1903 or bidentate group of Nomada needs revision; based on the descriptions, mainly the number of tergal maculations, forms other than quadrisignatus would not key out using Mitchell (1962).

Mitchell (1962: 347) also did not provide a description of the ♂ of N. cuneata despite Robertson (1903: 176) keying it, indicating that that there was uncertainty in the association, suggesting that the Robertson’s ♂ may belong to N. lepida Cresson, 1863. Cockerell (1905: 75, 1921: 8) seemingly accepted that the ♂ of N. cuneata was correct, in the former work indicating that ♂s from the east show little variation and intergradation with N. lepida, while noting that some specimens from Colorado intermediate between both species. In the latter work (Cockerell 1921: 8) he compared it to his Nomada (Gnathias) orophila Cockerell, 1921 from Colorado, which he claimed the male was much more robust, and the female had less yellow than N. cuneata.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAE5760, BOLD:AAE5783, BOLD:AAI3547, BOLD:AAL9154

Most (i.e., 12) specimens identified as N. cuneata in BOLD have been assigned to BIN BOLD:AAE5760, with female specimens consistent with the description of the female provided by Mitchell (1960: 347). The two female specimens from New Hampshire assigned to BIN BOLD:AAE5783 vary in having maculations on tergum 2 only, or both tergum 2 and 3.

The single specimen from Maine assigned to BIN BOLD:AAI3547 is a female with tergal maculations limited to tergum 2, and may be representative of Nomada (Gnathias) cuniata var. e. Lovell and Cockerell, 1905.

The single specimens from Massachusetts assigned to BIN BOLD:AAL9154 has maculations on terga beyond tergum 2, and seemingly lacks the median black mark on the scutum.

Distribution in Canada: Criddle et al. 1924 [ON]; Criddle 1925 [NS, form quadrisignatus Robertson, 1903], 1926 [NS]; Mitchell 1962 [NS]; Sheffield et al. 2003, 2013 [NS], 2014 [MB]; Pindar 2014 [ON]; Nelson et al. 2021 [AB]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB]

Other specimens in BOLD support this species from YT, NT, BC, SK, AB, SK, MB, on, NS. 


Cockerell TDA (1899) Notes on American bees. Entomologist 32: 154-159.

Robertson C (1903) Synopsis of Nomadinae. The Canadian Entomologist 35(6): 172-179.

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.

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].

Sheffield CS, Hebert PD, Kevan PG, Packer L (2009) DNA barcoding a regional bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) fauna and its potential for ecological studies. Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 196-207.

Sheffield CS, Kevan PG, Smith RF, Rigby SM, Rogers RE (2003) Bee species of Nova Scotia, Canada, with new records and notes on bionomics and floral relations (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 76(2): 357-384.

Gibbs J, Hanuschuk E, Miller R, Dubois M, Martini M, Robinson S, Nakagawa P, Sheffield CS, Onuferko T (2023) A checklist of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 155: E3.

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

Swenk MH (1913) Studies of North American bees I. Family Nomadidae. Univeristy Studies of the University of Nebraska 12(1): 1-113.

Cockerell TDA (1903) North American bees of the genus Nomada. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 55: 580-614.

Cockerell TDA (1921) Western bees obtained by the American Museum expeditions. American Museum Novitates 24: 1-15.

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.

Cockerell TDA (1905) The bees of the genus Nomada found in Colorado, with a table to separate all the species of the Rocky Mountains. Bulletin of the Agricultural Experimental Station of the Colorado Agricultural College 94: 69-85.

Rodeck HG (1951) Tribe Nomadini. 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. 1189-1207.

Krombein KV (1967a) Superfamily Apoidea. In: Krombein KV, Burks BD. Hymenoptera of America North of Mexico Synoptic Catalog (Agriculture Monograph No. 2). Second supplement . United States Government Printing Office, Washington. Pp. 422-520.

Alexander BA, Schwarz M (1994) A catalog of the species of Nomada (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of the World. The University of Kansas Science Bulletin 55(7): 239-270.

Cockerell TDA (1911) Bees in the collection of the United States National Museum. 1. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 39(1806): 635-658.

Pindar AN (2014) The effect of fire disturbance on bee community composition in Oak Savannah habitat in southern Ontario, Canada. PhD Thesis, York University, Toronto. xiv + 160

Lovell JH Cockerell TDA (1905) The nomadine and epeoline bees of southern Maine. Psyche 12: 39-42.

Criddle N (1925) The entomological record, 1924. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 55: 89-106.

Nelson CJ, Frost CM, Nielsen SE (2021) Narrow anthropogenic linear corridors increase the abundance, diversity, and movement of bees in boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 489: 119044

Leonard MD (1928) A List of the Insects of New York with a List of the Spiders and Certain other Allied Groups. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 1121 pp.

Cockerell TDA (1905) The bees of the genus Nomada found in Colorado, with a table to separate all the species of the Rocky Mountains. Bulletin of the Agricultural Experimental Station of the Colorado Agricultural College 94: 69-85.

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Boreal Shield, Mixwood Plains, Prairie

Distribution Map