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

Ceratina calcarata

Spurred Ceratina
Ceratina calcarata

 

 

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. Sometimes with a very tiny white to cream-colored oblong mark, but usually no mark. No squarish mark on mouth area (labrum). Mandibles dark with 3 teeth.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax: Dark green-blue. Segment 1 (scutum) rough (deep punctures) on base half, lower central area smooth and shiny. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with white fringe on one side. A few whitish hairs on lower half of thorax sides. Note: some females have half white tubercle; know to interbreed with Ceratina dupla.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark brown. Wings lightly tinted, veins brown.
Legs: Darker green-blue (slightly darker than body). Feet (tarsi) dark brownish-yellow. Front leg bare, mid and hind legs have long whitish hair. Hair on all feet slightly yellowish.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue. Tip sharply pointed. Some scant yellowish hair on last segment, and underside of last segment.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. White to cream-colored 3-cornered mark (hat-like). Another squarish, tiny white spot on mouth (labrum). Mandibles black with 2 teeth.
Antenna: Black. Segments 2 and 3 longer than wide.
Thorax: Dark green-blue, shiny and flat. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with crescent of white hair. Lower sides have sparse white hairs. Note: some males have half white tubercle; known to interbreed with Ceratina dupla.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark greenish-black. Wings tinted brownish, veins dark brown to black.
Legs: Darker green-blue than body, to almost black. Hind thighs (femora) have underside enlarged, V-shaped, no tuft of hair like C. strenua. Shins (tibiae) has sparse white hair, more so on hind shin. Feet more brownish, toes brownish-yellow.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue, rough (dense punctures). Segment 6 lower edge indented at center, with tuft of short pale hair. The 7th segment, usually hidden has a flat, wide tip (2 to 3 times as long as wide and fringed with whitish hairs. Underside covered with white hair.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species:
Males are large and have V-shaped point on underside of hind thigh (femur). C. dupla males have no V-shaped point and males of C. strenua have obvious white stripe on front leg.

Size: Female 7 to 8 mm. Male 5 to 7 mm.; largest of the Ceratina

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Pollen and nectar from a wide variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-March to mid-June; again late August to October.

Life Cycle:
Nest made by chewing out fresh twigs of elder, sumac, sassafras, blackberry, raspberry, roses, horseweed and teasel. Adults over-winter in the nests they were born in. Males start flying 2 weeks before the females, mating in April. The winter quarters (hibernacula) is not reused for new nests. Females stay with their young (6 or 7 only)  until they become adults, thus living almost a year. Females sometimes produce one small female (usually the first to hatch) to help with the nest. Adults of new brood are seen by the first week of August. One generation per year.
Parasites: Chalcid Wasp Axima zabriskiei, Baryscapus americanus, Coelopencyrtus hylaeoleter, Eurytoma species.
Ichneumon Wasp Hoplocryptus zoesmairi, Eupelmus vesicularis, Grotea anguina.
Parasitic Wasp Gasteruption tarsatorius, Jewel Wasps Omalus iridescens and Parasierola species.
Blister Beetle Meloe angusticollis
Mite: Pyemotes ventricosus

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Also Peel, Nipissing, Niagara and in Michigan.

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

Ceratina strenua

Small Carpenter Bee
Ceratina strenua

 

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua female on Aster. October 28, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario. White streak on front shin.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua female on Aster. October 28, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario. White streak on front shin.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Blue-green with an oblong whitish mark on lower face (clypeus). Mandibles slightly reddish with 3 teeth at tip.
Antenna: Dark, tips brownish. Segments 2 to 5 wider than long.
Thorax: More greenish than face. Thorax sides only have short, pale hairs. Tubercle whitish-yellow entirely.
Wings: Wing knobs pale yellowish-brown. Wings slightly tinted, veins brownish-yellow.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua female on Ironweed. August 25, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario. Close-up front shin (tibia) with white streak.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua female on Ironweed. August 25, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario. Close-up front shin (tibia) with white streak.

Legs: Black with metallic reflections. Short, pale hairs on legs. Front thigh (femur) has white dot at tip (knee). Main ID: Front shin (tibia) also has whitish spot or streak at base of segment. Feet reddish-brown.
Abdomen: Bluish-green with pale, short thin hairs on last two segments. Tip sharply pointed, no hair.

Male: Brassy-green
Head: Olive-green with a white 3 pointed mark on lower face (clypeus), hat-like; the points are all the same size. Another squarish, smaller white spot on mouth (labrum). Mandibles dark.
Antenna: Black, orange-brown on underside. Segments 2 and 3 wider than long.
Thorax: Thorax has 3 to 5 longitudinal lines on segment 1 (scutum). Thorax sides only slightly hairy. Tubercle entirely gray-white.
Wings: Wing knobs pale brownish-yellow. Wings clear, iridescent. Veins brownish-yellow.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua male on non-native bulb flower. March 25, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario. Thicker white streak on front shin.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina strenua male on non-native bulb flower. March 25, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario. Thicker white streak on front shin.

Legs: Black with metallic reflections. Front thigh (femur) has white dot at tip (knee). Main ID: Front shin (tibia) has white streak to almost entire length of shin. Feet brownish-red.
Abdomen: Brassy-green. Tip projecting, more rounded than female (sub-truncate), with a brush of light hairs.

Similar Species: C. strenua is the smallest, and darkest of the 4 species in Ontario. C. calcarata, C. mikmaqi and C. dupla do not have a white stripe on front shin (tibia).

Size: Female 5 mm – very small. Male 4.5 mm

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: March to October

Life Cycle: Females bore tunnels twigs like raspberry, roses and thistle for nesting. Females stay in nest until new batch of adults emerge from their eggs.

Comments: Rare. Essex County – photos. Also Niagara. Southern Ontario is the northern extent of their range.

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

Xylocopa virginica

Eastern Carpenter Bee
Xylocopa virginica

 

Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead Sep 12, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male and female nest in pine board fence
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica male and female just emerged from hibernation. Homes made in pine board fence. April 18, 2008. Wheatley, Ontario.
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female
Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica female on Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead Sep 09, 2007. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Female head entirely black. Male has yellow spot above mouth and green eyes.
Thorax: Yellow with a small, center bald spot.
Wings: Dark
Legs: Female has entirely black hairs; hind leg hairs used to collect pollen, but no basket like bumblebees. Males have yellow fringe on underside of entire front leg.
Abdomen: Flattened on underside. Segment 1 yellow, sometimes worn off, especially in females. Rest of abdomen shiny black with some hairs at side edges and tip only.

Size: 20 to 25 mm

Habitat: Anywhere wood can be used as a nesting site. Uses pine boards or dead pines without bark.

Food: Nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-April to early June; again from mid-August to mid-September.

Life Cycle: Use same nests year after year. As populations increase, new nest holes, perfectly round with a chewed out tunnel will be made adjacent to old nests. Only one new generation per year (Aug to Sept), overwinter as adults in the same nest in which they were born, emerging the next spring to mate and lay eggs. 6 and 8 end-to-end cells are constructed in the tunnel. Each cell provisioned with pollen and regurgitated nectar, 1 egg laid on top, then capped with chewed wood pulp. Very docile, not known to sting. Parasitized by Bee Fly Anthrax.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park and Ojibway Prairies. Throughout Ontario and southern Michigan.