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Triepeolus lunatus (Say, 1824)


Scientific Name: Triepeolus lunatus (Say, 1824)

Common Name: Lunate Longhorn Cuckoo Bee


Epeolus lunatus Say, 1824, in Keating, 1824: 85 [♂?, ♀].

     Syntypes ♂, ♀. USA, Missouri and Prairie des Chiens [presumed lost].

Epeolus lunatus form concolor Robertson, 1898: 51 []

     Lectotype ♀, designated by W.E. LaBerge, in Webb (1980: 108). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 24 July 1888 [INHS no. 8174].

Triepeolus nautlanus Cockerell, 1904: 36 [♂]. Synonymy by Rightmyer (2008: 80),

     Syntypes ♂. MEXICO, Vera Cruz, vicinity of San Rafael, Rio Nautla, 13 March, 7 April [no year provided] [USNM no. 9705].


Taxonomic notes: Robertson (1897b: 343) believed that the ♂ syntype of Epeolus lunatus Say, 1824 was not associated propoerly, based on the description, and indicated that it represented a misidentified specimen of Epeolus concavus Cresson, 1878, and provided characters to distinguish the two species. Unfortunately, Say’s type material is believed to be destroyed, but subsequent authors (e.g., Mitchell 1962: 472; Rightmyer 2008: 80) have not followed Robertson (1897b) treatment. In fact, Rigthmyer (2008: 81) indicated that “[a]lthough the type specimen of this species is no longer available for study, the meaning is clear from the original description and well understood by most workers making determinations in the collections that I have examined”; this may be the case, though here the ♂ is marked with a “?” to reflect Robertson’s (Robertson 1897) earlier opinion. Designation of a neotype ♀ would resolve the issue.

Robertson (1898: 51) described Epeolus lunatus form concolor Robertson, 1898 from specimens that he previously identified (i.e., Robertson 1897: 342) as E. lunatus Say, 1824 which had the antennae, labrum, mandibles, and legs entirely dark; he indicated that the female originally described by Say (1824: 85) and later Cresson () had red legs. As discussed above, in that same work Robertson (1897: 343) believed the ♂ described by Say (1824) represented T. concavus, which had black legs.

Robertson (1901: 231) subsequently recognized this as a TriepeolusRobertson, 1901; Cockerell (1904: 34) followed this classification, though his key treats the genus under “Epeolus, Latr. (sens. lat.)”.

Cockerell (1904: 36) indicated that Triepeolus nautlanus Cockerell, 1904 was a tropical representative of T. lunatus (Say, 1824), though felt it might prove to be the ♂ of T. totonacus (Cresson, 1878); Rightmyer (2008: 80) agreed with he former association.

Biology: Mitchell (1962: 473) and Hurd et al. (1980: 92) recorded Melissodes bimaculata (Lepeletier, 1825) as the host for Triepeolus lunatus concolor Robertson, 1898 (the latter based on the former), but neither provided additional evidence for this association. Both cuckoo (Romankova 2004) and its suspected host (Sharkey 2002, Gibbs et al. 2023) have been found in Canada. Its recent detection in Osoyoos, BC ( suggests that M. communis Cresson, 1878, including subspecies alopex Cockerell, 1928, may also be tenative hosts.

Distribution in Canada: Romankova 2004 [ON]. iNaturalist [BC].



Mitchell TB (1962) Bees of the Eastern United States. Volume 2. North Carolina Agricultural Experimental Station Technical Bulletin 152, Raleigh, 557 pp.

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

Robertson C (1898) New or little known North American bees. Transactions of the Academy of Sciences of St. Louis 8: 43-54.

Robertson C (1901) Some new or little-known bees. The Canadian Entomologist 33: 229-231.

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.

Webb DW (1980) Primary insect types in the Illinois Natural History Survey Collection, exclusinve of the Collemboa and Thysanoptera. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 32(2): 55-191.

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].

Sharkey JK (2022) Restoring rarities: the impact of habitat management and restoration on native bee communities in tallgrass prairie and oak savanna in southern Ontario. MSc Thesis, University of Guelph, xv + 153 pp.

Cockerell TDA (1904) Some parasitic bees. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 7 13(73): 33–42.

Romankova T (2004) Ontario bees of tribe Epeolini: Epeolus Latreille and Triepeolus Robertson (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Nomadinae). Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 135: 87–99.

Rightmyer MG (2008) A review of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Triepeolus (Hymenoptera: Apidae).—Part I. Zootaxa 1710: 1-170.

Hurd PD, LaBerge WE, Linsley EG (1980) Principal sunflower bees of North America with an emphasis on the southwestern United States (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 310: 1-158.

Sociality: Parasitic
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Not Applicable
Wintering Stage: Mature Larva

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: British Columbia, Ontario
Ecozone: Mixwood Plains, Western Interior Basin

Distribution Map