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Perdita maculigera maculipennis Graenicher, 1910


Scientific Name: Perdita maculigera maculipennis Graenicher, 1910

Common Name: Sandbar Willow Fairy Bee


Perdita maculipennis Graenicher, 1910: 102 [♀].

     Holotype ♀. USA, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 13 August 1905, flying around nest in sandy soil [31740] [xxxx].


Taxonomic notes: Graenicher (1910: 102) commented on the similarity of his species with P. maculigera Cockerell, 1896, both sharing the dark spot on the stigma, though indicated that Cockerell’s species was primarily a yellow species with dark markings, while P. maculipennis was much darker. Timberlake (1929: 121) later recognized an additional variety, P. maculipennis var. bilineata Timberlake, 1929, which he felt was likely an intermediate between P. maculigera and P. maculipennis. Timberlake (1929: 121) was the first to suggest that Graenicher’s species was likely a synonymy of Perdita maculigera Cockerell, 1896, and assigned it to the octomaculata species complex; both were later recognized as subspecies of P. maculigera by Krombein (1958: 224) and Timberlake (1960: 33).

Distribution in Canada: Paiero and Buck 2003 [ON]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [MB]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB]; SK

Biology: Michener and Ordway (1963) report this species nesting exclusively in sand with poplars and willows present; they observed declines in nesting when vegetation became too dense. This species is an early season flier, and apparently oligolecting on flowers of Salix nigra, however Michener and Ordway (1963) indicated that willow flowers earlier than the main flight period, and suggested that only the latest flowers were important.  Timberlake (1960) indicated that this species also collects pollen from Melilotus albus, though Michener and Ordway (1963) felt this was likely an error, or represented only a local occurrence. However, it at least will vist other legumes in the Canadian Prairies, including Medicago sativa. Nests have an average depth of about 15 cm (Michener and Ordway, 1963). The immature stages were also illustrated by Michener and Ordway (1963).


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.

Graenicher S (1910) Wisconsin bees ̶ new and little-known species. The Canadian Entomologist 42(4): 101-104.

Timberlake PH (1960) A revisional study of the bees of the genus Perdita F. Smith, with special reference to the fauna of the Pacific coast (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) Part IV. University of California Publications in Entomology 17(1): 1-156.

Timberlake PH (1929) New records and descriptions of bees of the genus Perdita (Hymenoptera). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 37(2): 111-125.

Michener CD, Ordway E (1963) The life history of Perdita maculigera maculipennis (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 36(1): 34-45.

Sociality: Solitary
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Narrow Oligolecty
Wintering Stage: Adult

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Salix nigra

Distribution: Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan
Ecozone: Mixwood Plains, Prairie

Distribution Map