Ctenoplectrella phaeton

Gonzalez, Victor H. & Engel, Michael S., 2011, A new species of the bee genus Ctenoplectrella in middle Eocene Baltic amber (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae), ZooKeys 111, pp. 41-49: 43-46

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Ctenoplectrella phaeton

sp. n.

Ctenoplectrella phaeton  ZBK  sp. n. Figs 14


♀, AMNH Ba-JVe-161, Baltic amber, middle Eocene (Lutetian). Deposited in the Amber Fossil Collection, Division of Invertebrate Zoology (Entomology), American Museum of Natural History, New York.


♀, on curved edge in same amber piece as holotype and with same repository (Figs 1, 4).


This species resembles Ctenoplectrella cockerelli  Engel in the forewing with vein 2rs-m strongly and doubly arcuate, the basal vein confluent with cu-a, the first submarginal cell shorter than the second submarginal cell, and the punctate mesepisternum and terga. However, Ctenoplectrella phaeton  can be distinguished from Ctenoplectrella cockerelli  and remaining species of the genus by its robust body, punctate metepisternum (impunctate in Ctenoplectrella cockerelli  ), and much shorter and sparser body pubescence.


Female: Total body length 5.77 mm (6.15 mm); forewing length 3.85 mm (3.92 mm). Head slightly wider than long; paraocular carina present; pedicel about as long as combined lengths of first and second flagellomeres; interocellar distance 2.5 times median ocellar diameter, 1.5 times longer than ocellocular distance; ocelloccipital distance about 1.6 times median ocellar diameter. Intertegular distance 1.46 mm. Outer surfaces of pro– and mesotibiae apically with small posterior spine. Prestigma relatively short, slightly more than two times longer than broad (prestigma width measured to its margin); basal vein strongly arcuate, confluent with cu-a; second abscissa of Rs basad 1m-cu by about six times vein width; 2rs-m distad 2m-cu by vein width, 2rs-m doubly arcuate; second submarginal cell slightly longer than first submarginal cell; seven distal hamuli, arranged in a single, evenly-spaced series. Sixth metasomal sternum with broadly rounded apical margin.

Integument in general smooth and shiny between punctures, weakly imbricate laterally on terga. Outer surface of mandible with minute punctures separated by a puncture width or less. Frons with small punctures separated by 1-1.5 times a puncture width, punctures becoming denser towards vertex. Pronotum laterally with minute punctures separated by a puncture width or less. Mesoscutum with small punctures separated by 1-2 times a puncture width (Fig. 2); tegula with minute, scattered punctures; mesoscutellum about as punctate as on mesoscutum. Metanotum impunctate and smooth. Mesepisternum with faint, scattered, larger punctures than on mesoscutum, nearly impunctate anteriorly to omaulus, punctures denser ventrally. Metepisternum more densely punctate than on mesepisternum, punctures separated by a puncture width or less dorsally, punctures sparse ventrally. Propodeum impunctate basally, lateral and posterior surfaces with minute punctures separated by more than two times a puncture width. Metasomal terga with small punctures separated by 1-2 times a puncture width, without distinct depressed marginal zones; sterna with coarser punctures than on terga, punctures smaller and finer on first sternum.

Color apparently brown, without maculations. Wing membrane hyaline; veins strong and dark brown.

Face with minute, appressed, simple setae not obscuring integument. Mesoscutum and mesoscutellum with scattered, short, simple setae. Mesepisternum with scattered, erect, longer setae (0.5 times median ocellar diameter) than on mesoscutum. Basal area of propodeum without pubescence; lateral and posterior surfaces with minute, sparse setae (integument largely visible among setae). Legs in general with short, scattered, minutely-branched setae (Fig. 3); basitarsi with denser, slightly longer setae than on tibiae; metatibia with scattered, minutely-branched setae (setal length about 1-1.5 times median ocellar diameter). Metasoma with scattered, short (≤ 0.5 times median ocellar diameter), simple, erect to suberect setae on discs; sternal scopa composed of bands of rather sparse, long (2.5-3.0 times median ocellar diameter), erect, simple setae.

Male: Unknown.


The specific epithet is taken from Phaeton and treated as a noun in apposition. In Greek mythology Phaeton died when he tried to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky. Phaeton’s sisters wept and their tears turned to amber.


The supraclypeus, clypeus, and mandibles are obscured by dense Schimmel (whitish froth of microscopic bubbles resembling mold) in the holotype and by a fracture in the amber piece in the paratype. However, the strong apical tooth and distinct outer ridge of the mandible is barely visible in the holotype, thus suggesting a similar mandibular shape as in other species of Ctenoplectrella  .