Epeolus fumipennis Say, 1837

Onuferko, Thomas M., 2019, A review of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Epeolus Latreille, 1802 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, European Journal of Taxonomy 563, pp. 1-69 : 24-28

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Epeolus fumipennis Say, 1837


Epeolus fumipennis Say, 1837

Figs 1D View Fig , 2B View Fig , 3B View Fig , 7E View Fig , 11 View Fig , 12 View Fig A

Epeolus fumipénnis Say, 1837: 403 (sex not stated).

Proposed common name

Dusky-winged epeolus.


Together with most of the morphological features that are diagnostic for the ‘ Trophocleptria group’ (see exception below), the following in combination can be used to tell E. fumipennis apart from all other Epeolus : the mesoscutum has a pair of well-defined paramedian bands ( Figs 2B View Fig , 11B View Fig ); there is no large tooth laterally near the base of each axilla ( Fig. 11D View Fig ); the mesoscutellum does not have a pair of posteriorly directed teeth ( Fig. 11D View Fig ); the mesopleura are finely punctate, each with punctures more or less equally dense throughout (few i≥2d); the fore wings are deeply infuscate apically ( Fig. 11 View Fig A–B); T1 has a broad, medially narrowed, bright to pale yellow submedial fascia ( Fig. 11B View Fig ); and T2–T4 have complete bright to pale yellow apical fasciae ( Fig. 11B View Fig ). Whereas in other species in the ‘ Trophocleptria group’ each mesopleuron has a carina delineating its anterior and lateral surfaces, in E. fumipennis the anterior and lateral surfaces of each mesopleuron are not clearly differentiated from one another. Epeolus fumipennis is similar to E. fulvopilosus in terms of the patterns of pubescence on the mesosoma and metasoma. However, in E. fulvopilosus the mesoscutum lacks paramedian bands, although the mesoscutum of the female anteriorly has faint lines of bright yellow tomentum along the midline and between the midline and parapsidal lines; there is a large tooth laterally near the base of each axilla; the mesoscutellum has a pair of posteriorly directed teeth; each mesopleuron has a carina delineating its anterior and lateral surfaces; the mesopleura are more coarsely punctate, each with sparser punctures ventrolaterally (many i≥2d) than in the upper half, with interspaces shining; and T1 has a broad, medially narrowed or interrupted bright to pale yellow basal fascia. Additionally, females may be separated on the basis of the pseudopygidial area, which uniquely in E. fumipennis consists of a basal impressed triangular portion covered in silvery short, appressed setae differentiated from a transverse band of coppery short, appressed setae along the posterior-facing apical margin of T5 ( Fig. 12A View Fig ). Epeolus fumipennis is also similar to E. obscuripes Cockerell, 1917 stat. nov. in that in males of both species T1–T6 are typically fasciate. However, in E. obscuripes the mesoscutum lacks paramedian bands, the axillae are shorter, not extending as far back as the ridge overhanging the depressed posterior margin of the mesoscutellum, and T1 has a broad, medially narrowed or interrupted, bright to pale yellow basal fascia.

Material examined

Primary type material

MEXICO • (not examined, presumably destroyed).

DNA barcoded material with BIN-compliant sequences Available. BOLD:ACZ0714. Specimens examined and sequenced:

PANAMA • 1 ♂; Chiriquí, 8 km S of Boquete ; 8.6986° N, 82.4505° W; 14–20 Jan. 2012; F.D. Parker and T.D. McIntyre leg.; BOLD sample ID: CCDB-28239 H01; BBSL FDP119767 View Materials GoogleMaps 1 ♀; same collection data as for preceding; 21–31 Jan. 2012; F.D. Parker and T.D. McIntyre leg.; BOLD sample ID: CCDB- 28239 G12; BBSL FDP 120261 GoogleMaps .

Non-barcoded material

COSTA RICA • 1 ♂; San José, Pérez Zeledón (San Isidro vicinity); 1 Feb.–12 Apr. 2001; T.H. Ricketts leg.; KUNHM SEMC1248326 .

MEXICO • 2 ♀♀, 1 ♂; ANSP 1 ♀; Chiapas, Ei. La Palma ( Acacoyagua ); 15.5665° N, 92.7902° W; 17 Dec. 2004; M. Rincón, R. Ayala, M. Guzmán, J. Esponda and C. Balboa leg.; ECOSUR ECO- TAE-42220 GoogleMaps 1 ♂; Chiapas, Ei. Rosario Zacatonal ( Acacoyagua ); 15.2783° N, 92.3983° W; 17 Nov. 2006; C. Balboa, J. Mérida, M. Guzmán, M. Cigarroa and J. Toto leg.; ECOSUR ECO-TAE-50698 GoogleMaps 1 ♀; same collection data as for preceding; 29 Nov. 2006; C. Balboa, J. Mérida, M. Guzmán, M. Cigarroa and J. Toto leg.; ECOSUR ECO-TAE-51519 GoogleMaps 1 ♀; Sinaloa, 9 mi E of Chupaderos ; 19 Mar. 1962; F.D. Parker leg.; BBSL 1 ♀; Yucatán, Chichén Itzá ; 18 Apr.; 1962; F.D. Parker and L.A. Stange leg.; UCBME .

PANAMA • 1 ♀; Chiriquí, 8 km S of Boquete ; 8.6986° N, 82.4505° W; 15–29 Feb. 2012; F.D. Parker and T.D. McIntyre leg.; BBSL FDP126465 View Materials GoogleMaps .



MEASUREMENTS. Length 6.8–9.2 mm; head length 1.7–2.2 mm; head width 2.2–2.8 mm; fore wing length 5.9–7.2 mm.

INTEGUMENT COLORATION. Mostly black; notable exceptions as follows: at least partially ferruginous on mandible, labrum, antenna, pronotal collar, pronotal lobe, tegula, axilla, mesoscutellum, metanotum, mesopleuron and legs. Mandible with apex darker than all but extreme base; preapical tooth slightly lighter than mandibular apex. Antenna brown and orange in part. Pronotal collar, pronotal lobe and tegula pale ferruginous to amber. Wing membrane dusky subhyaline, slightly darker at apex. Legs more extensively reddish orange than brown or black.

PUBESCENCE. Face with tomentum densest around antennal socket, slightly sparser on clypeus, upper paraocular and frontal areas, and vertexal area. Dorsum of mesosoma and metasoma with bands of bright to pale yellow short, appressed setae. Pronotal collar with tomentum uniformly pale yellow. Mesoscutum with paramedian band. Mesopleuron sparsely hairy, but tomentum dense ventrally as well as between two sparsely hairy patches (one beneath base of fore wing (hypoepimeral area), a larger circular patch occupying much of ventrolateral half of mesopleuron). Metanotum with tomentum uninterrupted, uniformly off-white. T1 with broad, medially narrowed bright yellow submedial fascia. T2 with complete bright yellow apical fascia, broadest medially and without anterolateral extensions. T3 and T4 with complete, pale yellow apical fasciae of slightly sparser tomentum. T5 with large, continuous patch of pale yellow tomentum bordering and contacting pseudopygidial area. T5 with pseudopygidial area lunate, its apex less than twice as wide as medial length, with basal impressed triangular portion covered in silvery short, appressed setae differentiated from transverse band of coppery short, appressed setae along posterior-facing apical margin. S5 with apical fimbria of coppery to silvery hairs extending beyond apex of sternum by ~⅓ MOD.

SURFACE SCULPTURE. Punctures dense. Labrum and clypeus with punctures equally dense (i<1d). Small impunctate shiny spot lateral to lateral ocellus. Mesoscutum, mesoscutellum and axilla very coarsely and densely rugose-punctate. Tegula densely punctate anteriorly and mesally (i≤1d), sparsely punctate (i>2d) to impunctate posteriorly and along margins. Mesopleuron with ventrolateral half densely punctate (i≤1d), interspaces shining; mesopleuron with punctures more or less equally dense throughout. Metasomal terga with punctures very fine, dense (i≈1d), evenly distributed on disc.

STRUCTURE. Preapical tooth forming right-angled triangle. Labral apex with three small denticles, lateral two each preceded by small discrete longitudinal ridge. Frontal keel strongly raised. Frontal area with pair of very discrete densely punctate protrusions, each located near upper mesal margin of compound eye. Head dorsally with pair of protrusions, each located where upper genal area meets vertexal area. Vertexal area strongly convex in frontal view. Scape with greatest length 1.5 × greatest width. F2 noticeably longer than wide (L/W ratio = 1.4–1.5). Preoccipital ridge separated from hypostomal carina by no less than 1 MOD. Pronotal collar rather short (medial length ~⅔ MOD), expanded laterally to about 2 × medial length in dorsal view, and relatively straight along anterior margin. Mesoscutellum moderately bigibbous, depressed along posterior margin beneath overhanging ridge. Axilla large, its lateral margin more than half as long as mesoscutellar width (AL/MSCW ratio = 0.6) and tip extending as far back as apex of horizontal dorsal portion of mesoscutellum; axilla with tip conspicuously diverging from side of mesoscutellum, distinctly hooked, and axilla with free portion 2 ∕5 its medial length; axilla with lateral margin relatively straight and carinate. Fore wing with three submarginal cells. Pygidial plate apically truncate.


Description as for female except for usual secondary sexual characters and as follows: F2 shorter, not noticeably longer than wide (L/W ratio = 1.1); pygidial plate apically rounded, with larger and deeper punctures, closely punctate basomedially and sparsely punctate apically and laterally, with interspaces shining; S3–S5 with much longer (>1 MOD), coppery to silvery subapical hairs, those of S4 and S5 curved.


Central America and Mexico ( Fig. 7E View Fig ).


Host records


Floral records



The specimen upon which Say’s (1837) description is based was probably destroyed, along with most of Thomas Say’s insect collection ( LeConte 1859: v–vi, xix (footnote)). Mawdsley (1993) lists only four Hymenoptera specimens from Say’s collection that are presently housed in the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology in Cambridge, MA, USA, and all are ichneumonids. Personal searches through the collections of most (20/28) of the entomological institutions listed in the Materials and Methods of Onuferko (2018a) did not turn up any specimens authoritatively identified as E. fumipennis . Nevertheless, the original description suggests a species of Epeolus in the ‘ Trophocleptria group’ in which the mesoscutum has paramedian bands of pale tomentum, and among the examined Neotropical Epeolus specimens are several fitting such a description, and all appear to be conspecific. Morphological features suggesting a species within the ‘ Trophocleptria group’ are as follows, quoted verbatim: “ collar with a ferruginous disk, contracted in the middle”, “ tergum, first and second segments with a yellow band, the first broader and widely interrupted; remaining segments with a whitish band” and “the last segment with the addition of an obscure rufous terminal margin” ( Say 1837). The last of these appears to describe the apical portion of the female pseudopygidial area, which is covered in coppery (rather than silvery) setae in the examined specimens that appear to be representatives of this species ( Fig. 12A View Fig ). According to Brumley (1965), who considered E. fumipennis to be within the ‘ Trophocleptria group’, specimens at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, USA and KUNHM that were collected from the Midwestern and Southeastern United States and identified as E. fumipennis are actually E. bifasciatus . Given that the taxonomic understanding of this species has been problematic, a re-description is warranted, and is based on all available representatives of this species. Although the sex upon which Say’s (1837) original description is based was not stated, the description of the last metasomal segment suggests a female. Therefore, in the present redescription of the species (vide supra) a detailed description of the female is given, whereas the description of the male lists only key differences between the sexes.


USDA, Agriculture Research Service, Pollinating Insects-- Biology, Management and Systematics Research


Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia


El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Mexico)














Epeolus fumipennis Say, 1837

Onuferko, Thomas M. 2019

Epeolus fumipénnis

Say T. 1837: 403