Common NameAlfalfa leafcutter bee
SeasonalityEmerge early-late June and adult activity from early June-late September (Stephen & Torchio 1961).
IdentificationFemale: Body is 8-9 mm long, robust, black body and legs, brownish circular tegulae (articulate sclerite at base of the costa vein) near base of wing and yellow spurs (articulated spine). Large cheeks slightly narrower than the eyes and mouth mandibles with 4 tooth projections. Soft, downy hair (pubescence) yellowish-white and short on the face and cheeks, more elongate and white on the lower cheeks. Pubescence dense around antennae (more yellowish), sides of face, lateral and posterior thorax (shorter and yellowish) and wing bases (more yellowish). Wings are subhyaline (sub transparent). Tergum (dorsal abdomen segments) 4-6 straight in profile with short suberect hairs and abdomen segments fringed with short yellowish-white hairs. (Mitchell 1962). The scopa (pollen-collected hair basket on ventral abdomen) is silvery gray in colour unlike most other leafcutter bees that have yellow, orange, tan or black scopa (Richards 1984).
Males: Body is 7-8mm long, robust, black body, brownish tegulae, front tarsi (lower segments of leg) partly yellowish with yellow spurs. Cheeks considerably narrower than eyes and mouth mandibles with 3 tooth projections. Pubescence is considerably yellow on the face and dense around antennae, lower face region and front of face. Thorax pubescence is whitish, very dense on lateral and posterior surface and both yellowish or whitish on the dorsal surface. Wings are subhyaline and appear smoky near the apex. Sterna (ventral abdomen surface) 1 – 4 are exposed and have punctures and appear yellowish and hyaline with dense elongate white hairs. Sternum 5 is broad, median area has short, fine and dense setae and sternum 6 has an broad short apical lobe, incurved medially. Genital armatures have gonocoxites, which narrow above the base, is compressed, has a curved down apex, tip elongate and narrow, setae projects towards the apex, dorsal lobe is broad and flat and ventral lobe is curved and slender. (Mitchell 1962