Zonitis vittigera

Blister Beetle
Zonitis vittigera

Blister Beetle Zonitis vittigera on Black-eyed Susan. Wheatley, Ont. July 12, 2009.
Blister Beetle Zonitis vittigera on Black-eyed Susan. Wheatley, Ont. July 12, 2009.

Identification:
Head: Slightly shiny, triangular, reddish-orange. Eyes indented (emarginate) near antenna bases. Mandibles reddish-orange with black tips. Tongue (galae) almost as long as antenna. Whiskers (palpi) black, not considered long.
Antenna: Antenna black, long reaching past base of wings (elytra). 11 segments, segment 2 short.
Thorax: Slightly shiny, squarish, reddish-orange. Slightly wider than head.

Blister Beetle Zonitis vittigera on Black-eyed Susan. Wheatley, Ont. June 29, 2012.
Blister Beetle Zonitis vittigera on Black-eyed Susan. Wheatley, Ont. June 29, 2012.

Wings (Elytra): Reddish-orange with a wide black stripe down each wing, sometimes very faint to absent. Wings cover entire abdomen. V-shaped area at center of base of wings (scutellum) orange-red, puffy or inflated.
Legs: Thighs (femora) reddish-orange with black tips. Rest of legs black.
Abdomen: Entirely reddish-orange, shiny, hairy. Tip with tuft of dark yellowish hair.

Similar Species: Only one other Zonitis in Ontario, Z. bilineata has whitish-tan wings (elytra) with or without dark stripe and yellow feet.

Size: 8 to 11 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, forest edges.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar, prefers Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta. Also other flowers in the Aster family like Goldenrod Solidago and Sunflowers Helianthus.

Flight Time: Late June to early August.

Life Cycle: Eggs are laid on flowers. When larva hatch, they attach themselves to bees, eventually taken back to the nest where they feed on the stored food for the bee larvae. The beetle larvae over-winter, and pupate the next summer.

Comments: Although not common, and present from south-western Ontario to Toronto (BugGuide), this beetle is not listed for Ontario. It was recorded in 1944 by Hicks at Ojibway Prairies, Windsor, and considered the first record for all of Canada, but has never been recognized. Ojibway does list Zonitis bilineata. Photographed in Wheatley, Ontario since 2009, always on Black-eyed Susan.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Stelis coarctatus

Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee
Stelis coarctatus

 

 

Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee Stelis coarctatus on Ox-eye Daisy. May 29, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee Stelis coarctatus on Ox-eye Daisy. May 29, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Male and female almost identical.
Head: Black with some long white hairs around antenna bases; no other marks. Mandibles with 3 teeth. Cheeks slightly wider than eye width with a few short, white hairs. Male has lower face (clypeus) slightly protruding and more hair on face.
Antenna: Black, 10 segments on female, 11 on male. Pedicel longer than segment 1. 1st segment constricted at base.
Thorax: Entirely black, rough. Thorax sides have some long white hair. Tubercle (pronotal lobe) slightly raised, entirely dark. Male has more hair on thorax top and sides.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) large, dark and projecting outward. Wings smoky tinted, darker toward tips. Veins black.
Legs: Black, with dusting of very short white hair. Shins (tibiae) pointed at tips.

Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee Stelis coarctatus on Ox-eye Daisy. May 30, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.
Cuckoo Leaf-cutter Bee Stelis coarctatus on Ox-eye Daisy. May 30, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.

Abdomen: Black, slightly shiny. Segment 1 to 3 have a very small white to cream spot at each side edge. Segment 4 has a very tiny dash each side of center, sometimes absent on male. Abdomen tip rounded, grooved and slanted down on female. Underside of male hairy.

Size: Female 6 to 7 mm. Male 5 mm.

Habitat: Meadows and forest edges.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar.

Flight Time: May to early July

Life Cycle: One generation per year, over-winters in a prepupal stage in the nest of its host, the Leaf-cutter Bee Hoplitis carinata.

Comments: Not on any lists for Ontario. Wheatley per photos. Found in New Brunswick in 2001. Canadian National Collections (CNC) lists 8 (7 S. coarctatus & 1 S. vernalis), no locations. Also in southern Michigan.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Ceratina mikmaqi

Small Carpenter Bee
Ceratina mikmaqi

 

NOTE: There is controversy on the status of C. mikmaqi.
GenBank https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/  part of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (USA) is the top authority for the genetic sequence database for DNA, and it has either removed (as designation “record removed”) or transferred C. mikmaqi specimens to Ceratina dupla.
BOLD (Barcode of Life Database) in Guelph, Ontario has also removed some C. mikmaqi specimens, including the type specimens designated by Sheffield from Nova Scotia (Holotype #02-NS-1619 and Allotype #sheffT-58) are now listed as Ceratina dupla. The 127  remaining specimens listed as C. mikmaqi on BOLD have all been given a ‘record removed’ status at GenBank.

I suspect GenBank, and apparently now BOLD, too, are using the 2% rule. If DNA variation is less than 2% between species, it is not considered a valid species.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina mikmaqi female, with uneven (sinuate) mark on face. On spring bulb (exotic) April 06, 2005, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina mikmaqi female, with uneven (sinuate) mark on face. On spring bulb (exotic) April 06, 2005, Wheatley, Ontario.

Clarification requests to GenBank went unanswered.

BOLD declined to answer my queries, and instead asked me to contact Sheffield. As a taxpayer of Ontario and Canada who have dumped millions into this DNA project, I would expect BOLD to answer my questions, or at least admit they have sided with the U.S. on the 2% rule.

Quite frankly, I think Sheffield is right. Ceratina mikmaqi is a valid species, and Ceratina dupla is different and very rare.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Metallic, a more greenish colour, with black areas. MAIN ID: Lower face (clypeus) has an oblong, ivory mark in the center, the side edges of the mark are slightly wavy, not straight. Lower part of clypeus, mouth area and cheeks are black.
Antenna: Dark brown to black on top side, underside slightly reddish-brown.
Thorax: Metallic, bluish green with black areas. Segment 1 (scutum) more black, lower half without punctures. Tubercle (pronotal lobe) on thorax side, half black, half white; thorax side long whitish hair.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegula) reddish brown. Wings slightly tinted, veins and stigma dark brown.
Legs: Thighs (femora) bluish-green with some white hair. Shins (tibiae) dark brown with small white spot at base (knee); sometimes absent on front shin. Feet dark brown to black.
Abdomen: Metallic, a more greenish color; segment 1 more black. MAIN ID: Tip pointed with obvious tuft of short white hair.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina mikmaqi male with tuft of short hairs at tip of abdomen, and white hair on abdomen underside. Series 3 of 5 photos. On Aster. October 28, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina mikmaqi male with tuft of short hairs at tip of abdomen, and white hair on abdomen underside. Series 3 of 5 photos. On Aster. October 28, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Metallic, a more greenish colour. Lower part of face (clypeus) has a large ivory, 3-cornered mark (hat-like). Large ivory spot below on mouth (labrum).
Antenna: Dark brown.
Thorax: Metallic, bluish green with black areas. Segment 1 (scutum) more black, lower half without punctures. Tubercle (pronotal lobe) on thorax side, half black, half white; thorax side long whitish hair.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegula) reddish brown. Wings slightly tinted, veins and stigma dark brown.
Legs: Thighs (femora) bluish-green with some white hair; hind thigh not triangular, but has a slight raised edge to middle of shin on underside. Shins (tibiae) dark blue with small white spot at base (knee); sometimes absent on front shin. Feet dark brown to black.
Abdomen: Metallic, a more greenish colour. Last segment rough (punctured). MAIN ID: Tip rounded with obvious tuft of short, thick yellowish hair. MAIN ID: Underside has hair across each segment and lower half of abdomen has hair at side edges.

Similar Species: Males of C. dupla do not have a short, white tuft at abdomen tip or white hair on the underside of the abdomen. Females of C. dupla have sides of white mark on face even, not wavy, also C. dupla female has no white tuft at tip of abdomen.

Size: Female 6 to 8 mm., Male 5 to 7 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, field edges.

Food: Flower nectar and pollen.

Flight Time: Mid-April to mid-June, again late July to August.

Life Cycle: Nesting in hollow twigs like teasel, dewberry, raspberry, sumac, privet hedge and rose. Males emerge before females. Nesting complete by the end of June. Over-winter as adults. Females stay with young and guard nest. One generation per year.

Comments: “Ceratina mikmaqi is named in honour of the Mi’kmaq, the First Nations People of Nova Scotia where this species was first discovered with DNA barcoding (Sheffield et al. 2009). Ceratina mikmaqi ranges in Canada from Nova Scotia to southern Ontario, and south into the northeastern United States, as far west as Nebraska, and south to Kentucky. Its range overlaps that of C. dupla and C. calcarata.” per Rehan & Sheffield, 2011.

Synonyms: Rehan & Sheffield 2011
None

References:
Zootaxa, 2011, #2873 pp. 35 to 50 by Rehan, S.M. and C.S. Sheffield, pp. 35 to 43.
Canadian Entomologist, 2011, Vol. 143: Nesting biology and DNA barcode analysis of Ceratina dupla and C. mikmaqi by Vickruck, Rehan, Sheffield & Richards, pp. 256 to 261.
Animal Behavior 2012, Vol. 83: Niche partitioning based on nest site selection in the small carpenter bees Ceratina mikmaqi and C. calcarata by Vickruck & Richards pp. 1083.

Types:
Type material. The male holotype of C. mikmaqi was collected in Middleton, N44.9665, W65.5755, Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia, Canada on 20.vi.2002, col. Cory Sheffield [DNA barcode sample ID “02-NS-1619”]; the specimen is in good condition, but missing the right antenna and middle leg. The female allotype was collected in Forest Home, N44.9117, W64.5288, Kings Co., Nova Scotia, Canada on 2.vii.2003, cols. C. Sheffield, S. Rigby, and K. Jansen [DNA barcode sample ID “sheffT-58”]; the specimen is in excellent condition, but missing the right hind leg. Both holotype and allotype are in the Packer Collection at York University (PCYU).

 

 

Ceratina dupla

Small Carpenter Bee
Ceratina dupla

NOTE: There is controversy on the status of C. mikmaqi. GenBank https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/ part of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (USA) is the top authority for the genetic sequence database for DNA, and it has either removed (as designation “record removed”) or transferred C. mikmaqi specimens to Ceratina dupla.

BOLD (Barcode of Life Database) in Guelph, Ontario has also removed some C. mikmaqi specimens, including the type specimens designated by Sheffield

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina dupla male on Basket of Gold (exotic). May 07, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina dupla male on Basket of Gold (exotic). May 07, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

from Nova Scotia (Holotype #02-NS-1619 and Allotype #sheffT-58) are now listed as Ceratina dupla. The 127  remaining specimens listed as C. mikmaqi on BOLD (ver. 4) have all been given a ‘record removed’ status at GenBank. For more information, see my notes under Ceratina mikmaqi.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Dark blue-green to blackish. Lower face (clypeus) with an oblong, ivory mark in the center. Mandibles dark with 3 teeth.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax: Dark blue-green to blackish. Segment 1 (scutum) rough (deep punctures) more so than C. calcarata. Tubercle on thorax side is half black, half white, the white almost crescent-shaped. White hair covering thorax sides.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) black. Wings very lightly smoky gray-brown, with a blackish tinge (infuscated). Wings are darker than C. calcerata.
Legs: Greenish-black, slightly darker than body. Feet (tarsi) blackish. On front leg, the joint between thigh and shin (knee) is white. Sparsely covered with white hair, more so on hind shin (tibiae).
Abdomen: Dark blue-green to blackish. Segments 1 and 2 somewhat shiny, 3 to end dull and faintly covered with very short white hair. Hair is visible on lower abdomen, but not visible on C. calcerata. Tip pointed, no tuft of hair.

Male:
Head: Dark blue-green to blackish. Lower part of face (clypeus) ivory, a 3-cornered mark (hat-like).
Antenna: Brown.
Thorax: Dark blue-green to blackish. Tubercle on thorax side is half black, half white, the white almost crescent-shaped. White hair covering thorax sides.
Wings: Wing knob (tegulae) dark brown. Wings very lightly smoky gray-brown, with a blackish tinge (infuscated). Wings are darker than C. calcerata.
Legs: Greenish-black. Hind thighs (femora) have small projection on underside near the base, barely noticeable. On front leg, the joint between thigh and shin (knee) is white. Feet (tarsi) brownish. Legs covered with very short white hair, more so on hind shin (tibiae).
Abdomen: Dark blue-green to blackish, dull and covered with very short white hair. Tip well rounded.

Similar Species:  Ceratina calcarata male has hind thigh (femora) triangular, point on underside; female usually has no white mark on face. Ceratina strenua male and female have white streak on front leg.

Size: Female 6 to 8 mm. Male 6 to 7 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, forest edges.

Food: Flower nectar

Flight Time: April to October

Life Cycle: Females build provisioned cells in unlined twigs and stems like raspberry and teasel. Nest may have another female in attendance.  After eggs are laid, female stands guard at nest entrance. May have second brood in late July, early August.
Parasites: Wasps Baryscapus americana, Eupelmus vesicularis, Axima zabriskiei; Ichneumon Wasp Hoplocryptus zoesmairi; Mite Pyemotes species.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee, Ojibway Prairies. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park; widespread across Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Bombus tenarius

Tri-colored Bumblebee
Bombus ternarius

 

Identification:

Tri-colored Bumblebee Bombus ternarius
Tri-colored Bumblebee Bombus ternarius on Coltsfoot. Jun 09, 2011 Nova Scotia.

Queen and Worker: Head is mostly black with yellowish hairs around antenna. Thorax is yellow with a wide black stripe between the wing bases, central area of black V-shaped. Abdomen 1 yellow; 2 & 3 red-orange; 4 yellow; 5 and 6 black. Legs are black with black fringe.

Male: Long dense hair. Hair mostly yellow with a few black hairs intermixed. Thorax dense yellow except for a narrow black band between wing bases.  Abdominal segment 1 yellow; 2 and 3 bright reddish (unless faded); 4 yellow; 5 to 7 entirely black, side edges with yellow. Legs black. Fringes for most part long and black, except hind tibia (shin) which has pale hairs.

Size: Queen 17 to 19 mm. Worker 8 to 13 mm. Male 9.5 to 13 mm.

Flight Time: June to August.

Habitat: Woodlands and forest edges.

Food: A generalist feeder of pollen and nectar, using a wide variety of flowers.

Life Cycle: Hibernating queens appear in spring and build nests in old mouse nests or other cavities. Queen forms a wax honey pot and fills it with honey and pollen, then lays a batch of eggs on the pollen, covering them with a waxed sheet. Eggs are kept warm by the queen. Hatched larvae are continually fed by the female until they pupate. The first brood become workers and take over nest maintenance and honey & pollen foraging. The old Queen, workers and males die at the end of the season. Only mated females live to hibernate in sheltered locations until the next spring.

Comments: From Simcoe to northern Ontario. Laverty and Harder (1988, map 15) recorded it for Essex County, but it has not been seen since 1950 at Ojibway Prairies.

Synonyms: Bombus oniatus, Bombus ternarius var. expallidus

References:
Boston Journal Natural History, 1837. Vol. 1, pg. 414 male by Say.
Catalogue Hymenoptera in British Museum, 1854. Vol. 2, pg. 398 male & female by Smith as Bombus oniatus.
Occasional Papers of Michigan Univ. Museum of Zoology, 1916. Vol. 23, pg. 9. Female by Cockerell as Bombus ternarius var. expallidus.
North Carolina Experimental Station Technical Bulletin, 1962. Vol. 152, pg. 536 to 537 by Mitchell.

Temnothorax curvispinosus

Acorn Ant
Temnothorax curvispinosus

 

Identification:

Worker: Body is brownish-yellow to reddish. Head dull and grooved. Antenna pale yellow, base (scape) is short not reaching top of head. Antenna 11 segments with short white hair, club is 3-jointed. Lower face (clypeus) slightly protruding. Mandibles pale yellow, toothed, with a black spot on each tip. Thorax dull, grooved; shoulders slightly angled. Top of thorax rounded. Main ID: End of thorax has a pair of long, slender spines, slightly pointing upward. Legs pale yellow, thighs (femora) has dark streaks. Between thorax and abdomen (pedicle) has 2 blunt nodes. Abdomen short, smooth and shiny, segment 1 dark brown to black streak down center.

The Acorn Ant Temnothorax curvispinosus queen at moth sheet July 12, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
The Acorn Ant Temnothorax curvispinosus queen at moth sheet July 12, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Queen is similar to worker, but top of head is dark. Thorax brownish-yellow to reddish, shiny, segment 2 (scutellum) dark, rounded. The pair of spines at end of thorax are shorter and wider than the worker.  Abdomen has a wide dark band across middle of the 1st segment and a thinner brown stripe at end of the other segments.

Male is same as worker, only darker with very large, black eyes. Antenna base (scape) short. No spines at end of thorax.

Size: Worker 2.75 to 3.5 mm long, Queen 3.5 to 4 mm long.

Flight Time: June to July

Habitat: Forests and meadows.

Food: Tiny insects, honeydew on leaves, seeds.

Life Cycle: Lives in small colonies of usually 25 to 50 workers, seldom reaching 200. Nests in Goldenrod galls, oak galls; hollow twigs and acorns at ground level. One acorn can hold a nest population of 113 individuals. May have multiple queens in one nest. Workers are active throughout the day. They do not tend aphids. Ant will play dead if handled.

Slave-maker ant Protomognathus americanus have been recorded a few times in the nests of Temnothorax curvispinosus. Apparently the ants rebel and kill the new slave-maker queens larvae.

Comments: Recorded from Wellington County. Also in Michigan. Essex County per photos.

Synonyms:
Leptothorax curvispinosus, Stenamma gallarum

References:
Proceedings from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1903, Vol. 55, pg. 239-241 by Wheeler.
Canadian Entomologist, 1909; Vol. 41, pg. 26 by Wheeler.
Antwiki: http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Temnothorax_curvispinosus

 

 

Formica incerta

Acid Ant
Formica incerta

 

Acid Ant Formica incerta w feeding on small insect on Hoptree leaf. June 12, 2015, Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.
Acid Ant Formica incerta w feeding on small insect on Hoptree leaf. June 12, 2015, Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Worker head reddish-brown and wider than others of this group, but not as shiny. Male is uniform blackish to dull black-brown. Large eyes.
Antenna: Very long antenna base (scape), but shorter than F. pallidefulva.
Thorax: Thorax slightly shiny, very light reddish-yellow to reddish-brown. Base has some short hairs, more than F. pallidefulva. Queen with three distinct dark spots on base of thorax, one at center, one on each side which may appear as streaks – variable. No other Formica Queen has these marks. Male is uniform blackish to dull black-brown, hairy.
Wings: Wings with a faint brownish to smoky gray tint. F. pallidefulva has clear to reddish tint on wings.
Legs: Very long, especially the hind thigh (femur) which reaches almost to the end of the abdomen. (Shorter than F. pallidefulva which surpasses abdomen). Legs are light reddish-yellow, lower legs appear darker. Male legs reddish-brown.
Abdomen: Abdomen is not very shiny, darker reddish-brown (than head), becoming darker near tip. Segment 1 is dull, with appressed hairs; rest of abdomen less dull, but not as shiny as F. pallidefulva, due to more hairs. Male is uniform blackish to dull black-brown. Hairy.

Similar Species: Formica incerta has a slightly shorter antenna base (scape) than F. pallidefulva, slightly more hair on base of thorax, but very short; head slightly wider. Overall, F. incerta is lighter in color and less shiny.

Size: Workers 4.5 to5.5 mm.. Queens 7.5 to 9.5 mm.

Flight Time: Mid-July to mid-August – 2 to 3 weeks later than F. pallidefulva.

Habitat: Prairies and barren land often near grass clumps, dry open forest edges, grasslands and sandy lawns, golf courses. Not a forest dweller.

Food: Frequently found on Sumac flowers, sunflowers, partridge pea and other prairie plants. Tends and protects aphids and treehoppers for their honeydew. Also feeds on honeydew from the Hoptree Leafroller Agonopterix pteleae at Pt. Pelee Nat. Park, Leamington, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Nests, usually in bare soil or under rocks. Occasionally it will nest next to a clump of grass. Exposed nests in soil are covered with plant debris. About 2,000 ants per colony. Several queens may be present in one colony. New colonies are built by the workers.
Preyed on by slave-maker ant Polyergus lucidus in Ontario.
Anting – Flickers are fond of this species and catch the ants, rubbing their acid on their feathers before eating them.

Comments: Not listed for Essex or Kent county. Recorded by Trager, 2007 for Lambton county. Also in Livingston county, Michigan.

Synonyms: Emery 1893
Neoformica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussi var. incerta,  Neoformica pallidefulva subsp. incerta, Neoformica pallidefulva, Neoformica schaufussi, Formica schaufussi

References:
Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 2007, Vol. 80, pp. 622 to 625 and key 629 by Trager, et al.