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Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.)
Order Hymenoptera, Family Apidae
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.)

General: Cuckoo Bees (Melecta spp.) are large bumblebee-sized insects that do not collect pollen. The lack of pollen-carrying structure on the hind legs helps identify these bees, as does the short body hair and the fact that hairs on the abdomen lie flat against the body. Cuckoo bees also have relatively thick antennae and unique wing-venation characteristics.

Taxonomy: Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies), Family Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees), Subfamily Apinae (Honey, Bumble, and Digger Bees), Tribe Melectini (Cuckoo Bees), Genus Melecta.

Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.)

Most bees collect pollen and feed it (one way or another) to their offspring, but cuckoo bees are brood parasites and lay their eggs in the nest of digger bees (Tribe Anthophorini).

This interesting creature was on a curl-leaf mountain mahogany tree on Mt. Charleston at about 8,000 feet in May 2007.

Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.)

Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.); notice that this creature appears to be a large bee, but it lacks pollen-carrying structures on the hind legs

Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.) Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.). Male cuckoo bees sometimes form sleeping aggregations where several males gather together, grasp a leaf with their mouth parts, and hang there sleeping all night. I found this bee during late afternoon after the sun had gone behind the mountains when the temperature was falling. The bee appeared to be dead, but was just cold and moving slowly. Notice that it is grasping a mountain mahogany leaf with its mouth parts.
Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.) Cuckoo Bee (Melecta spp.); notice that this bee appears to be hanging by its mouth parts.
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 100125

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