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Sphecodes confertus Say, 1837


Scientific Name: Sphecodes confertus Say, 1837

Common Name: Sphecodes confertus


Sphecodes confertus Say, 1837: 392 [“♀”].

     Type . USA, Indiana [presumably destroyed].

Sphecodes falcifer Patton, 1880: 320 [♀, ♂]. Synonymy by Lovell (1911: 212).

     Syntypes ♀, ♂. USA, New England [???].

Drepanium falciferum Robertson, 1903: 105. Lapsus calami (appearing in the keys only).

Sphecodes pithanus Lovell, 1909: 122 [♀]. Synonymy by Mitchell (1960: 482).

     Holotype ♀. USA, Massachusetts, Brookline, 18 July 1878, by S. Henshaw [MCZ no. 27105].


Taxonomic Notes: Say’s (1837: 392) original description of S. confertus Say did not indicate the sex of the specimen, but the “rufous” abdomen is a feature of the female, not the male, the latter first described by Patton (1880: 320, as S. falcifer Patton) and descirbed in detail by Mitchell (1960: 482); Sichel (1865: 454) was the first to indicate this, though Robertson (1897: 317, 1899: 399) was the first to indicate the synonymy with Patton’s taxon. Lovell and Cockerell (1907: 107), and Smith (1910: 689) also listed S. falcifer Patton as a synonym of S. confertus Say. Later, both Lovell and Cockerell differed in their opinion, with Lovell (1911: 212) seeming to consider it a synonym for the first time, and Cockerell (1913: 12, 1913: 63) still considering it to be a valid species; Viereck (1916: 709) and Meyer (1919: 175), supported the synonymy. As Lovell (1911) was the first to make the statement implicitly since the earlier differences of opinion, he is given credit here for the synonymy.

Ascher and Pickering (2023) list Sphecodes olympicus Cockerell as a synonymy of S. confertus Say, though this is not supported in the most recent catalogue treatments of North American bees (Hurd 1979: 1977; Moure and Hurd 1986: 153) or on the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).


Lovell JH (1909) The bees of Massachusetts: Osmia and Sphecodes. Entomological News 20: 122-126.

Lovell JH (1911) New records of bees: Sphecodes and Prosopis (Hym.). Entomological News 22: 211-215.

Viereck HL (1916) The Hymenoptera, or wasp-like insects of Connecticut. Connecticut State Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 22: 1-824.

Cockerell TDA (1913) Two new Canadian bees. The Canadian Entomologist 45(1): 12-14.

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.

Lovell JH, Cockerell TD (1907) The Sphecodidae of southern Maine. Psyche 14(5): 101-110.

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

Patton WH (1880b) Two new bees of the genus Sphecodes. The American Entomologist 3: 230.

Robertson C (1897) North American bees−descriptions and synonyms. Transactions of the Academy of Sciences of St. Louis 7: 315-356.

Robertson C (1903) Synopsis of Sphecodinae. Entomological News 14(4): 103-107.

Say T (1837) Descriptions of new species of North American Hymenoptera, and observations on some already described. Boston Journal of Natural History 1: 361-416.

Meyer R (1919) Apidae — Sphecodinae. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 85(1): 79-160; 85(2): 161-242.

Smith JB (1910) Report of New Jersey State Museum for 1909. MacCrellish and Quigley, Trenton, 888 pp.

Sichel J (1865) Révision monographique, critique et synonymique du genre mellifère Sphecodes Latr., basé sur la méthode numérique; avec des remarques sur les moeurs des Sphécodes comme insectes nidifiants et non parasites. Annales de la Société entomologique de France, Quatrième série 5: 397-466.

Moure JS, Hurd PD (1987) An annotated catalog of the halictid bees of the Western Hemisphere (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. vii + 405 pp.

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

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