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).