Epeolus pulchellus Cresson, 1865

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 : 49-52

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Epeolus pulchellus Cresson, 1865


Epeolus pulchellus Cresson, 1865

Figs 1I View Fig , 3C View Fig , 7K View Fig , 19 View Fig

Epeolus pulchellus Cresson, 1865: 185 (♂).

Proposed common name

Cuban epeolus.


Epeolus pulchellus has unique patterns of pubescence on the dorsum of the mesosoma and metasoma, which can be used to tell it apart from all other Epeolus : the mesoscutum has three large patches of bright yellow tomentum (an anteromedial ovate patch, which is slightly separated from the anterior margin of the mesoscutum, and a pair of posterolateral patches) ( Fig. 19B View Fig ), T1 has a pair of submedial triangular (almost semicircular) patches of bright yellow tomentum ( Fig. 19B View Fig ), T2 and T3 have widely separated bright yellow apical fasciae and T4 has a pair of widely separated patches of bright yellow tomentum ( Fig. 19B View Fig ). Epeolus pulchellus does not closely resemble any other species of Epeolus and is the only species in the genus known to occur in Cuba, where it is endemic.

Material examined

Primary type material

CUBA • ♂, holotype (studied from images); J. Gundlach leg.; IESH .

DNA barcoded material with BIN-compliant sequences


Non-barcoded material

CUBA • 1 ♂; Guantánamo, Limonar (near Centro Cient. ); 9 Apr. ??95; E.P.F. leg.; FSCA 1 ♂; Guantánamo, mountains near Guantánamo; BBSL 1 ♂; Pinar Del Río, El Mulo ( Sierra del Rosario ); Jun. ??87; KUNHM SEMC1248271 1 ♀; Sancti Spíritus, El Hondan - Topes de Collantes ; Jul. ??93; L. Roque leg.; LACM LACM ENT 363336 View Materials .



MEASUREMENTS. Length 7.6–7.9 mm; head length 2.0– 2.2 mm; head width 2.6–2.8 mm; fore wing length 6.9–7.5 mm.

INTEGUMENT COLORATION. Mostly black; notable exceptions as follows: at least partially ferruginous on mandible, labrum, antenna, pronotal lobe, tegula and legs. Mandible with apex darker than all but basal quarter; preapical tooth lighter than mandibular apex. Antenna entirely orange. Pronotal lobe and tegula pale ferruginous to amber. Wing membrane dusky subhyaline, slightly darker at apex. Legs from trochanter to tarsus entirely orange, coxae brown.

PUBESCENCE. Face with tomentum very dense around antennal socket, otherwise almost entirely bare. Dorsum of mesosoma and metasoma with bands of bright yellow short, appressed setae. Pronotal collar with tomentum uniformly bright yellow. Mesoscutum with anteromedial ovate patch of bright yellow tomentum, slightly separated from anterior margin, and pair of separated posterolateral patches of bright yellow tomentum. Mesopleuron with upper half densely hairy, although scrobe visible; ventrolateral half densely hairy along margins, otherwise sparsely hairy. Metanotum with tomentum very narrowly interrupted medially, uniformly yellow. T1 with pair of submedial triangular verging on semicircular patches of bright yellow tomentum, medially separated from one another and from apical margin. T2 and T3 with fasciae widely interrupted medially and narrowed before becoming somewhat broader laterally, T2 fascia without anterolateral extensions. T4 and T5 each with pair of widely separated patches of bright yellow tomentum tapering laterally. S3–S5 with long (>1 MOD), curved, coppery to silvery subapical hairs.

SURFACE SCULPTURE. Punctures dense, but those of head and mesosoma sparser in some areas, larger, deeper and more distinct. Labrum and clypeus with punctures equally dense (most 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≤2d), sparsely punctate (i>2d) to impunctate posteriorly and along margins. Mesopleuron with denser (i<1d) punctures in upper half than ventrolateral half (many i≥1d), interspaces shining; mesopleuron with many smaller punctures among large ones. Metasomal terga with punctures very fine, dense (i≈1d), evenly distributed on disc. Pygidial plate with large deep punctures closely clustered throughout.

STRUCTURE. Preapical tooth forming right-angled triangle. Labral apex with three small denticles, each preceded by small discrete longitudinal ridge. Frontal keel strongly raised. Frontal area with pair of discrete, sparsely punctate protrusions, interspaces shining; 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 1.7 × greatest width. F2 noticeably longer than wide (L/W ratio = 1.2). Preoccipital ridge separated from hypostomal carina by no less than 1 MOD. Pronotal collar somewhat elongate (medial length ~ 4 ∕ 5 MOD), expanded laterally to about 2 × medial length in dorsal view, and relatively straight along anterior margin. Mesoscutellum weakly bigibbous. Axilla small to intermediate in size, its lateral margin less than half as long as mesoscutellar width (AL/MSCW ratio = 0.4) and tip not extending beyond midlength of mesoscutellum; axilla with tip conspicuously diverging from side of mesoscutellum, distinctly hooked, and axilla with free portion between ⅓ and 2 ∕ 5 its medial length; axilla with lateral margin relatively straight and without carina. Metanotum with blunt median process obscured by tomentum. Mesopleuron with weak carina delineating its anterior and lateral surfaces. Fore wing with three submarginal cells. Pygidial plate apically rounded.


Description as for male except for usual secondary sexual characters and as follows: F2 even longer than wide (L/W ratio = 1.6); T5 laterally with long, erect simple setae; T5 with pseudopygidial area lunate, its apex more than twice as wide as medial length, indicated by silvery setae on impressed disc of apicomedial region elevated from rest of tergum; pygidial plate with smaller, denser punctures; S4 and S5 with straight and much shorter hairs (S5 with apical fimbria of coppery to silvery hairs extending beyond apex of sternum by ~⅔ MOD).


This species is known only from Cuba and is the only species of Epeolus known to occur in the country ( Fig. 7K View Fig ).


Host records

Unknown. Presumably E. pulchellus is associated with one or more of the three species of Colletes C. granpiedrensis Genaro, 2001 , C. hicaco Genaro, 2003 and C. submarginatus Cresson, 1865 ( Genaro 2003)—known to occur in Cuba.

Floral records

This species has been observed visiting the flower of Tridax procumbens (L.) L. ( Asteraceae ) (J.A. Genaro, personal communication, 2018).


Images of the holotype of E. pulchellus (kindly provided for study by the curatorial staff at the IESH) show the specimen to be in poor condition; both antennae are missing, the wings are badly damaged, on the specimen there are hyphae and fruiting bodies from mold, and much of the pubescence is discolored/rubbed off. However, still visible on the specimen’s right side is one of the two submedial triangular verging on semicircular patches of bright yellow tomentum on T1, which are unique to this species among Epeolus . Since many of this species’ features cannot be described from the holotype, the redescription of the male of E. pulchellus provided herein is based mainly on other material—male specimens available for detailed examination that closely match Cresson’s (1865) original description. The female of E. pulchellus is described here for the first time.

Epeolus pulchellus is herein recognized as belonging to the ‘ Trophocleptria group’ on the basis of the following morphological features, which are diagnostic for the intrageneric group: the pronotal collar is relatively straight along its anterior margin and somewhat elongate, each mesopleuron has a weak carina delineating its anterior and lateral surfaces, and the penis lacks a pair of divergent, fleshy lateral lobes, which are unique to Epeolus among Nomadinae ( Rightmyer 2004) . Although the frontal area does not have any conspicuous protrusions, a small swelling (more sparsely punctate than the surrounding area) is present on each side, near the upper mesal margin of the compound eye.


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


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


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County














Epeolus pulchellus Cresson, 1865

Onuferko, Thomas M. 2019

Epeolus pulchellus

Cresson E. T. 1865: 185