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Perdita octomaculata (Say, 1824)


Scientific Name: Perdita octomaculata (Say, 1824)

Common Name: Eight-spotted Fairy Bee


Panurgus 8-maculatus Say, 1824, in Keating, 1824: 350 [♂, ♀].

     Syntypes ♂, ♀. “United States” [presumably destroyed].

Perdita octomaculata Dalla Torre, 1896: 173. Emended name for Panurgus 8-maculatus Say, 1824.

Perdita octomaculata terminata Cockerell, 1922: 8 [♂, ♀].

     Holotype ♂. USA, Nebraska, West Point, by J.C. Crawford, on Slidago rigida [UNSM?].


Taxonomic notes: Cresson (1887: 296) and Provancher (1888: 321) were among the first to recognize Say’s species as Perdita Smith.

Cockerell (1922: 8) indicated that the specimen(s) of Perdita affinis Cresson from Nebraska (West Point, collected by J.C. Crawford (presumably the specimens recorded in Swenk and Cockerell 1907: 55) represented a western race of P. octomaculata (Say), the male (type) differing from the typical form by having the supraclypeal area maculated, the maculation distinctly notched above. A male specimen of P. octomacuata with such a marking was found in Maryland, USA, suggesting that this characteristic, though uncommon in the east likely just represents variation within P. octomaculata (i.e., see Mitchell 1960: 322); Mitchell (1960: 322) expressed doubt over its validity.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAB2707

This BIN is shared with Perdita bruneri Cockerell, a western species (see above). The species seems somewhat variable with respect to maculations; a specimen from Ontario that has been DNA barcoded has maculations only on tergum 1 and 2 (BIOUG01281-F09). Records of this species from Saskatchewan (Sheffield et al. 2014) may represent P. bruneri, though it has been confirmed from Manitoba.

Biology: The nesting biology and immature stages were described by Eickwort (1977). Nests are built in bare, sloping sand; the entrances are semicircular, 2-3 mm high and 5.5 mm wide, and difficult to spot in the surrounding sand (Eickwort 1977). Nesting depth varies from 21 mm to 88 mm, averaging about 40 mm (Eickwort 1977). Nests are parasitized by Sphecodes autumnalis Mitchell (Eickwort 1977).

Distribution in Canada: Provancher 1888 [QC]; Harrington 1902 [NB]; Crawford 1913 [NB]; Walker 1913 [ON]; Gibson 1914 [ON]; Timberlake 1952 [NB], 1960 [QC]; Eickwort 1977 [NB]; Sheffield et al. 2003, 2009 [NS], 2014 [SK]; Normandin et al. 2017 [QC]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB].


Provancher L (1888) Additions et Corrections au Volume II de la Faune Entomologique du Canada Traitant des Hyménoptères. Quebec, Darveau.

Dalla Torre CG (1896) Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Volume X: Apidae (Anthophila). Engelmann, Leipzig, 644 pp.

Eickwort GC (1977) Aspects of the nesting biology and descriptions of immature stages of Perdita octomaculata and P. halictoides (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 50(4): 577-599.

Mitchell TB (1960) Bees of the Eastern United States. Volume 1. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 141: 1-538.

Normandin É, Vereecken NJ, Buddle CM, Fournier V (2017) Taxonomic and functional trait diversity of wild bees in different urban settings. PeerJ 5: e3051.

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.

Crawford JC (1913) Some bees from New Brunswick, with description of a new species of Heriades. The Canadian Entomologist 45(8): 269-273.

Gibson A (1914) The entomological record, 1913. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 44: 106-129.

Cockerell TDA (1922) Bees of the genus Perdita from the western United States. American Museum Novitates 33: 1-14.

Keating WH (1824) Narrative of an expedition to the source of St. Peter’s River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods, &c. &c. Performed in the year 1823, by order of the Hon. J.C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, Under the Command of Stephen H. Long, Major U.S.T.E. Vol. II. Philadelphia, USA: H.C. Carey & I. Lea—Chesnut Street, 253–378. [T. Say prepared the Appendix. Part I.— 1. Zoology].

Timberlake PH (1952) New records of Perdita from the eastern United States (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 54(4): 199-204.

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.

Swenk MH, Cockerell TDA (1907) The bees of Nebraska.–I. Entomological News 18: 51-58.

Harrington WH (1902) Hymenoptera. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 19: 22-33.

Cresson ET (1887) Synopsis of the families and genera of the Hymenoptera of American, North of Mexico, together with a catalogue of the described species, and bibliography. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, Supplementary Volume, 350 pp.

Walker EM (1913) Insects and their allies. Pp 295-403, in Faull JH (ed) The Natural History of the Toronto Region, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Institute, Toronto. 419 pp.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Solidago sp., Anaphalis margaritacea

Distribution: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Boreal Shield, Mixwood Plains, Prairie

female; lateral view
female; lateral view
male; lateral view
male; lateral view

Distribution Map