Identification Page #12

Calliopsis, Perdita, Andrena,

Osmia, Megachile

IDENTIFICATION PAGE # 16
May 2021

Protoxaea & Mesoxaea

(females)

Identification Page #17
Protoandrena & Andrena
 

Identification Page #18
Long-horn & Leafcutter
 

NOTE:  Below are the female pairs for the Protoxaea and Mesoxaea males on ID page 15.  All come from the Mesteno Ranch, located in Puerto Rico, Texas, on the northwest border of Hidalgo County, about 50 miles form the Mexican border.  The habitat of the ranch is Tamaulipan thornscrub.  It straddles part of the sand sheet.   The ranch appears be home to populations of both Protoxaea and Mesoxaea.   Females of both species  fly exclusively in the morning, disappearing around 9:00 a.m.  Males emerge around 10:00, and then disappear around 12:00, when the afternoon begins to get hot.  The males return around 3:00 and fly until around 4:30.  The males feed principally on whitebrush, but also visit shrubby blue salvia.  When out, they stage territorial battles with one another in proximity to these plants.  The female bees gather pollen from the shrubby blue salvia, but ignore the whitebrush.  Shrubby blue salvia grows in great profusion at the Mesteno Ranch, dominating much of the underbrush.   This may account for these bees' presence there.  I don't see records of either of these species on Salvia ballotiflora, but Hurd and Linsley do record females on other Laminaceae plants such as horsemint (Monarda punctata) .  Whitebrush is commingled with the salvia in various locations on the ranch and is a documented food source of male Mesoxaea.  I have seen males and females both now on six separate days, sometimes a dozen at a time.  I haven't seen either visiting any plants other than whitebrush or shrubby blue sage.  The ranch owner and I have hunted around for nests, but the thornscrub is very dense on the ranch and hides a lot of the ground where the bees are feeding -- so, we are still looking.

Associated plant:

Shrubby blue sage
(Salvia ballotiflora )

Plant family: Laminaceae 

When seen: May 24, 2021
El Mesteno Ranch

Puerto Rico, TX
Hidalgo Co.

Female bee

Face of female bee

Dorsal view

WJPEG-Protoxaea-gloriosa-F-profile-NBC-#
WJPEG-Protoxaea-gloriosa-F-profile-NBC-#

Close-up of thorax and vertex

female bee

Protoxaea gloriosa bee; Copyright 2021 Paula Sharp

Protoxaea gloriosa

Size:  about 20 mm (female) 

Protoxaea gloriosa bee; Copyright 2021 Paula Sharp

male bee

Mesoxaea texana

Size:  about 20 mm (female) 

Associated plant:

Shrubby blue sage
(Salvia ballotiflora )

Plant family: Laminaceae 

When seen: May 24, 2021
El Mesteno Ranch

Puerto Rico, TX
Hidalgo Co.

Female bee

Face of female bee

Close-up of face

Close-up of bee's face and thorax.

vertex

White hairs on abdomen

Dorsal view of abdomen

Mesoxaea texana; Copyright 2021 Paula Sharp

female bee

Mesoxaea texana bee (female); Copyright 2021 Paula Sharp

female bee