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Sphecodes hudsoni Cockerell, 1911


Scientific Name: Sphecodes hudsoni Cockerell, 1911

Common Name: Hudson Cuckoo Sweat Bee


Sphecodes hudsoni Cockerell, 1913: 12 [♀].

     Holotype ♀. CANADA, Hudson Bay[‘s] [BMNH no. 17.a.577].


Taxonomic Notes: The ♂ is unknown.

Known only from the holotype, Cockerell (1913: 13) recorded the type locality as “Hudson Bay” with accession number 44. 17, for the 17th accession of 1844 (see Cockerell 1912: 354); according to Cockerell (1913: 13), the specimen had been at the BMNH for at least 67 years. Cockerell described or mentioned other species of bees from this locality and accession code (i.e., 44. 17), including Osmia subarctica Cockerell and O. tersula Cockerell (Cockerell 1912: 357; 358) and Megachile melanophaea Smith. Smith (1853: 142) likely also described Osmia frigida Smith [= Osmia nigriventris (Zetterstedt)] from this material.

The holotype labels for these specimens indicates Hudson’s Bay which could be interpreded as any area near the large body of water of northern Canada (Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec), as such, with very poor precision. However, the ‘locality” is in reference to a tradng post of the Hudson’s Bay company in northern Ontario (Handfield and Handfield 2020; Handfield 2022). Francis Walker (e.g., Walker 1848, 1852, 1855) described and/or listed many insect specimens from “St. Martin’s Falls, Albany River, Hudson’s Bay” that were presented to the BMNH by G[eorge]. Barnston, Esq (1800-1883) which were accessioned under number 44-17 (Handfield and Handfield 2020: 439). Though these works by Walker treated Diptera (1848), Neuroptera (1852), and Lepidoptera (1855), many other groups of insects were collected by Barnston at Martin’s Falls (he was an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company at this post) and deposited in the BMNH (Handfield and Handfield 2020), including 720 specimens of Hymenoptera. Preble (1902) gave a detailed account of biological investigations of the Hudson Bay region, including many observations of birds also noted by Barston at “Martin’s Falls” on the Albany River. Handfield and Handfield (2020) and Handfield (2022) discussed the insects described by Walker in the mid 1800’s and indicated that the correct locality for specimens labelled as Hudson’s Bay in those works should be “Martin’s Falls” for this trading post on the Albany River in northern Ontario (51.534 N, 86.505 W). Thus, Cockerell’s and Smith’s type locality of “Hudson Bay” is assumed to be this location in northern Ontario.

It has been suggested that S. hudsoni may be the valid name for S. townesi Mitchell, 1951 [M. Arduser, as per Ascher and Pickering (2023, Discover Life), though this synonymy was not made by Gibbs et al. (2017: 97) who treated other Sphecodes species with similar status]. The shining scutum [mesothorax] with scattered punctures and other characters described by Cockerell (1913: 12-13) are more in agreement with S. levis Lovell and Cockerell, 1907, a species known from eastern Canada.

Distribution in Canada: Cockerell 1913 [ON, as “Hudson Bay”]; Gibson 1914 [ON, as “Hudson’s Bay”]; Meyer 1919 [ON, as “Hudson Bay”].

Biology: This species is a cleptoparasite, most likley of other Halictinae, though no details are known of its biology.

Distribution in Canada: Cockerell 1913 ["Hudson Bay"]; Gibson 1914 [Hudson’s Bay]; Meyer 1919 [Hudson Bay].

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) in Canada ( N/A

Index of Area of Occupancy (IAO) in Canada ( 4 km2

Body length: ♀ 7 mm


Cockerell TDA (1912) Canadian bees in the British Museum. The Canadian Entomologist 44(12): 354-358.

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

Smith F (1853) Catalogue of Hymenopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London, 198 pp.

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

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

Gibbs J, Ascher JS, Rightmyer MG, Isaacs R (2017) The bees of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila), with notes on distribution, taxonomy, pollination, and natural history. Zootaxa 4352: 1-160.

Preble EA (1902) A biological investigation of the Hudson Bay region. United States Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey, North American Fauna No. 22. Washington, D.C. 140 pp.

Walker F (1848) List of the specimens of dipterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part I. Edward Newman, London. 1172 pp.

Walker F (1852) Catalogue of the specimen of neuropterous insects in the collection of the British Musum. Part I.—(Phryganides—Perlides). Edward Newman, London. 34 pp.

Walker F (1855) List of the specimens of lepidopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part V. —Lepidoptera Heterocera. Edward Newman, London. 1507 pp.

Handfield L (2022) The curious, and incorrect, case of “St. Martin’s Falls”, a type locality for many insect species described by Francis Walker: precision and correction. Zootaxa 5182(5) 499-500.

Handfield L, Handfield D (2020) The curious, and incorrect, case of “St. Martin’s Falls”, a type locality for many insect species described by Francis Walker. Zootaxa 4786(3): 437-443.

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable
Wintering Stage: Adult

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Ontario
Ecozone: Boreal Shield

Distribution Map