Identification Page #12

Calliopsis, Perdita, Andrena,

Osmia, Megachile

IDENTIFICATION PAGE # 15
May 2021

Protoxaea, Mesoxaea, Ptiloglossa 
Big Triepeolus, Eucerine bee

Protoxaea gloriosa

Size:  about 20 mm (male) 

Associated plant:

Shrubby blue sage
(Salvia ballotiflora )

Plant family: Laminaceae 

When seen: May 20, 2021
El Mesteno Ranch

Puerto Rico, TX
Hidalgo Co.

male bee

Face

Dorsal view

vertex

WJPEG-Protoxaea-M-NBC-#389-Salvia-ballot

male bee

WJPEG-Protoxaea-M-NBC-#389-Salvia-ballot

male bee

Mesoxaea texana

Size:  about 20 mm (male) 

Associated plant:

Whitebrush
(Aloysia gratissima )

Plant family: Verbenaceae

 

When seen: May 17, 2021
El Mesteno Ranch

Puerto Rico, TX
Hidalgo Co.

Dorsal view of male bee

Profile view of male bee

male bee

male bee

A graduate student here introduced me to a McAllen resident who had reported that Ptiloglossa have been visiting his passionflowers for the last few years.  They come in the morning, before the passionflowers close, usually around 7:30 to 8:30.  I went over on Tuesday morning, and sure enough, there they were.

 

This seems to fit the description of  Ptiloglossa mexicana  in the 2015 revision / dissertation of Ptiloglossa by Velez Ruiz, as well as Cresson's original disceiption. Ptiloglossa mexicana also appears to be the dominant species in Hidalgo County.  Locally, people report that they lie to feed on Texas milkweed and on silver-leaf nightshade.

This Ptiloglossa is the most beautiful bee I’ve ever laid eyes on.  A curious thing to me is that the bee's eyes glow under the camera flash -- they seem to trap light and diffuse it like moonstone.  The bee's hairs also have a shimmering effect under the flash -- it reminds me of the chatoyace of tiger eye.  I wonder if these effects are related to its tendency to fly under low light?  The bee’s body traps light to illuminate its  way, or to signal to other Ptiloglossa where it is?  

Ptiloglossa mexicana?

Size:  18 mm (female) 

Associated plant:

Stinking Passionflower
(Passiflora foetida )

Plant family: Passifloraceae  

When seen: May 18, 2021
Garden of Bill rich

McAllen TX
Hidalgo Co.

Female bee on Passiflora foetida

Female bee

Dorsal view

Female bee - there is brown hair on the apical end of the femur, a trait of P. mexicana?

The bee's vertex hair is partly dark, and its scutum hairs are dark-tipped. Note the glowing pinkish ocellus.

female bee on Passiflora foetida

WJPEG-Ptiloglossa-F-profile-NBC-#386-pas

female bee

Triepeolus zacatecas (male)

The largest Triepeolus I've ever seen

Size:  15 mm

Associated plant:

Guajillo
(Acacia belandieri )

Plant family:  Fabaceae  

When seen: May 16, 2021

La Puerta tract
Starr  Co., TX

Male bee

This Triepeolus is a whopping 15 mm.

Dorsal view of scutum & scutellum

Profile of thorax

Face of male bee

Vertex

Dorsal view of abdomen: to the naked eye, the markings on this this bee looked distinctly yellow.

male bee

sternum of mlae bee

Svastra petulca (male)

Size:  14 mm (male) 

Associated plant:

Guajillo
(Acacia belandieri )

Plant family:  Fabaceae  

When seen: May 16, 2021

La Puerta tract
Starr  Co., TX


Near  Rio Grande City, Starr Co., TX

Male bee

The bee has yellow spots on on the bases of its jaws.

The hair bands on the bee's abdomen are well-defined.

There are small, sharp lateral teeth on T6.

male bee