Colletes michaelis Cockerell 1936,

Kuhlmann, Michael, 2020, New records of the bee genus Colletes Latreille 1802 (Hymenoptera: Apoidea Colletidae) in Ethiopia with description of a new species, Zootaxa 4722 (6), pp. 583-590: 584-586

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Colletes michaelis Cockerell 1936


Colletes michaelis Cockerell 1936 

( Figs 1–2View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2)

Colletes michaelis Cockerell, 1936: 7–8  , ♀ lectotype [designated by Kuhlmann, 1998] (type locality: “Lubumbashi, Katanga, B Cgo, 11.45 S, 27.40 E”) (BMNH, examined).

Diagnosis. Colletes michaelis  belongs to the taxonomically challenging C. rufitarsis  species-group. The group comprises nine described species of which including C. michaelis  four occur in Ethiopia (see Kuhlmann & Pauly 2013). The female of C. michaelis  differs from the other described species of the group by a combination of the following characters: fine and dense punctation of T1 ( Fig. 1dView FIGURE 1) (only C. senkelensis Kuhlmann 2013  has finer punctation, see Kuhlmann & Pauly 2013) and lack of oily bluish shine of metasomal terga. The male can be recognized by the typical shape of S7 ( Fig. 2cView FIGURE 2) in combination with the lack of an oily bluish shine of the finely and densely punctured metasomal terga ( Fig. 2bView FIGURE 2).

Description. Female. Bl = 10.0–11.0 mm. Head. Head 1.25x wider than long. Integument black except mandible partly dark reddish-brown. Face except clypeus densely covered with long, yellowish-grey, erect hairs. Clypeus convex, with shallow longitudinal median depression, supraclypeal area elevated, rectangular. Clypeus coarsely and densely punctate; surface between punctures in the upper part slightly shagreened otherwise smooth and shiny; Supraclypeal area with coarse but shallow puncatation, matt to slightly shiny ( Fig. 1bView FIGURE 1). Malar area medially about 1/3 as long as width of mandible base, finely striate. Antenna black, ventrally yellowish to dark brown. Mesosoma. Integument black. Mesoscutal disc coarsely and mostly densely punctate (i <0.5d), shagreened and matt, sometimes medially shiny ( Fig. 1cView FIGURE 1). Scutellum as mesoscutum but punctation mostly finer ( Fig. 1cView FIGURE 1). Mesoscutum, scutellum, metanotum, mesepisternum and propodeum covered with long orange-brown erect hairs ( Fig. 1aView FIGURE 1). Wings. Yellow- ish; wing venation yellowish to dark brown. Legs. Integument dark to light reddish-brown. Vestiture whitish to yellowish, scopa yellowish-white. Metasoma. Integument black except depressed apical margins of terga reddish to yellowish translucent ( Fig. 1dView FIGURE 1). T1 anteriorly densely covered with long, yellowish-white erect hairs; apical tergal hair band of T1 medially narrower, on T2–T5 broad and yellowish-white. Terga densely (i <d) and finely punctate, between punctures smooth and shiny ( Fig. 1dView FIGURE 1).

Male. Bl = 9.5–11.0 mm. Head. Head 1.27x wider than long. Integument black except mandible partly dark reddish-brown. Face densely covered with long, yellowish-brown, erect hairs. Malar area medially about 2/3 long as width of mandible base, finely striate. Antenna black, ventrally dark brown. Mesosoma. Integument black. Mesoscutal disc irregularly densely punctate (i <0.5d), shagreened and matt. Mesoscutum, scutellum, metanotum, mesepisternum and propodeum covered with long yellowish-brown, erect hairs ( Fig. 2aView FIGURE 2). Wings. Slightly yellow- ish-brown; wing venation yellowish to dark brown. Legs. Integument dark reddish-brown to yellowish-brown (tarsi). Vestiture whitish to yellowish-brown. Metasoma. Integument black except depressed apical margins of terga yellowish translucent. T1 completely and T2 medially loosely covered with long but apically successively shorter, erect yellowish-brown hairs ( Fig. 2bView FIGURE 2); apical tergal hair bands broad, yellowish-brown. Terga densely and finely punctate (i <d), between punctures smooth and shiny ( Fig. 2bView FIGURE 2). Terminalia. Genitalia and S7 as illustrated ( Figs. 2View FIGURE 2 c–d).

Material examined ( 87 specimens). Type material: female Lectotype, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Lubumbashi , Katanga, 11°45′ S, 27°40′ E, 12.1.1921, Mich. Bequaert Coll. ( BMNH). 

Additional material: ETHIOPIA: 1 ♀, SNNPR, Chebera Churchura NP, E36°40′ N07°01′, 28.x.2018, M. Kas- parek ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 4 ♂, 30 km NW Negele , E39°26′ N05°32′, 1480m, 25.v.2015, J. Halada ( OÖLM, RCMK)GoogleMaps  . DEMO- CRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: 1 ♂, P.N.A. Mutsora, [E29°44′ N00°19′], 1939, Hackars ( MRAC)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, Rutshuru , [E29°26′ S01°10′], x.1937, J. Ghesquière ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. tropicus  )GoogleMaps  ; 2 ♂, Bassin Lu- kuga, [E28° S05°], iv.–vii.1934, De Saeger ( MRAC) (labelled as HT, PT C. tropicus  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Lubumbashi , Katanga, E27°40′ S11°45′, 31.i.1921, Mich. Bequaert ( BMNH)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, idem, 27.i.1921 ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  . UGANDA: 1 ♀, 1 ♂, En- tebbe [E32°27′ N00°03′], 21.i.1913, C.C. Gowdey ( BMNH, RCMK) (labelled as PT C. tropicus  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, 1 ♂, idem, 1.i.1913 ( BMNH, RCMK) (labelled as PT C. tropicus  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, Kampala, [E32°34′ N00°19′], 23.ix.1913, C.C. Gowdey ( BMNH) (labelled as PT C. tropicus  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, 2 ♂, near Kampala, [E32°33′ N00°19′], 2007, T. Munyuli ( SANC, RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 2 ♀, Ankole, Kichwamba , [E30°11′ N00°43′], 23.–29.iv.1968, P.J. Spangler ( USNM, RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 20.– 30.ix.1918, C.C. Gowdey ( BMNH)  ; 1 ♂, 1918, C.C. Gowdey ( BMNH)  . KENYA: 2 ♂, Katutu-Kithioko , [E37°50′ S01°10′], 27.xi.1999, M. Snizek ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 6 ♂, Nairobi, Salama env., [E36°48′ S01°17′], 25.xi.1999 ( OÖLM, RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Karen, Nairobi , [E36°42′ S01°19′], 2000 m,, Michener ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Ikutha , [E38°10′ S02°03′], 1898 ( NHMW)GoogleMaps  . BURUNDI: 1 ♂, 9 mi. N of Nyanza Lac , [E29°35′ S04°20′], 800 m, 1.vii.1958, E.S. Ross & R.E. Leech ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  . TANZANIA: 1 ♂, prov. Kagera, Kimisi Game Reserve , 30 km S Karagwe, E31°04′46′′ S01°52′59′′, 1600 m, 25.–26.xi.2017, J. Halada ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, Kigoma pr., 25 km SSE Kasulu , [E30°11′ S04°44′], 1200 m, 28.xii.2006, J. Halada ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, W of Kiberashi, Kitwei plain, [E37°25′ S05°23′], 16.iii.2002, M. Snizek ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, Sagara mts. , [E36°30′ S06°52′], 12.xii.1997, M. Snizek ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Mbeya pr., 70 km NW Tunduma , [E32°25′ S08°58′], 1500 m, 2.i.2007, M. Kadlecova ( OÖLM) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  . ZAMBIA: 1 ♂, Mkushi env. E, [E29°23′ S13°36′], 16.–18.xii.2004, M. Snizek ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 40 km N Kabwe, Sangala school env., [E28°18′ S14°09′], 19.xii.2004, M. Snizek ( OÖLM)GoogleMaps  ; 2 ♂, 120 km N Lusaka, [E28°09′ S14°39′]; 12.–14.xii.2002, J. Halada ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 10 km S Mazambuka , [E27°45′ S15°54′]; 28.xii.2002, J. Halada ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  . MALAWI: 1 ♀, Rumpi , [E33°51′ S11°01′], 12.iv.1967, C.D. Michener ( SEMC) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 6 mi. N of Ekwendeni , [E33°52′ S11°22′], 1200 m, 21.ii.1958, E.S. Ross & R.E. Leech ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 2 ♂, Dedza, [E34°19′ S14°22′], 20.iv.1967, C.D. Michener ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, 85 km SE Lilongwe , Dedza, [E34°19′ S14°22′], 5.–12.i.2002, J. Halada ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Mulanje Mts. env., [E35°30′ S16°00′], 23.–26.xii.2001, J. Halada ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, 2 ♂, Mlanje , [E35°30′ S16°02′], 6.iv.1967, C.D. Michener ( SEMC, RCMK) (labelled PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  . MOZAMBIQUE: 1 ♀, 65 km S Vlongné , [E34°19′ S15°13′], 1250 m, 8.xii.2005, J. Halada ( OÖLM) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 100 km NE Tete, [E34°20′ S15°26′]; 910 m, 7.xii.2005, J. Halada ( OÖLM)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♀, 6 ♂, 30 km NW Catandica , [E33°07′ S17°47′], 630 m, 12.xii.2005, J. Halada ( OÖLM, RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 4 ♂, idem, 17.–18.xii.2003 ( OÖLM, RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Manica pr., 65 km W Chimolo , [E32°55′ S18°57′], 10.–11.xii.2003, J. Halada ( OÖLM) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, 40 km SW Chimolo , [E33°11′ S19°23′], 650 m, 16.xii.2005, J. Halada ( RCMK)GoogleMaps  . ZIMBABWE: 3 ♂, 30 km W. Harare, [E30°45′ S17°48′], 22.xii.1998, J. Halada ( OÖLM, RCMK) (labelled as HT, PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 3 ♀, 4 ♂, Salisbury , Mashonaland, [E31°03′ S17°49′], January 1900, G.A.K. Marshal ( BMNH, RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 3 ♂, 70 km SW Gweru, Nalatale Ruins env., E29°22′ S19°46′, December 2011, J. Halada ( OÖLM, RCMK)GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, Bulawayo, [E28°34′ S20°10′], 2.xii.1922, Rhodesia Museum ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 1 ♂, idem, 26.xii.1922 ( RCMK) (labelled as PT C. shonae  )GoogleMaps  ; 3 ♂, idem, 23.ii.1913, G. Arnold ( SDEI, RCMK)GoogleMaps  (la- belled as PT C. shonae  ).

General distribution. This species is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical parts of eastern Africa from Ethiopia to Zimbabwe.

Floral hosts. Scopal pollen loads of three females collected at three different sites (2x Malawi, 1x Tanzania) were analyzed. All samples only contained Asteraceae  pollen suggesting that C. michaelis  might be a specialist (oligolectic) bee species.

Seasonal activity (first–last observations). Throughout its range C. michaelis  was recorded in every month of the year except for August and depending on climatic conditions seems to be active all year round.

Remarks. Colletes michaelis  shows some slight morphological variation throughout its range. When I started studying Afrotropical Colletes  and only few isolated specimens were available this variation suggested the existence of two additional closely related taxa. They were named and labelled as type specimens of C. shonae  and C. tropicus  , respectively, but not formally described and can still be found as such in the collections mentioned under “Ma- terial examined” (HT—Holotype, PT—Paratype(s)). Later intermediate forms turned up supporting the assumption of only a single variable species.


Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale


Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien


University of Kansas - Biodiversity Institute














Colletes michaelis Cockerell 1936

Kuhlmann, Michael 2020

Colletes michaelis

Cockerell, T. D. A. 1936: 7