Heriades carinata

Leaf-cutter Bee
Heriades carinata

Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata female on Milkweed leaf. July 02, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata female on Milkweed leaf. July 02, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Black, squarish, rough (dense punctures). White hair on lower face and along inner eye margins. Mandibles toothed; narrowed, ridged and angled at joint under lower eye – main ID mark for female. Cheeks as wide as eye width with some white hairs. Male head smaller than female’s, mandibles not angled, cheek narrower with longer hair.

Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata female on Dogbane. June 29, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata female on Dogbane. June 29, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.

Antenna: Short, black on female, as long as thorax on male.
Thorax: Slightly raised and rounded, rough (dense punctures), with some scattered white hair. Male has slight fringe of white hair around thorax.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark. Wings slightly dusky at base, dark on rest. Veins and stigma dark.
Legs: Short, black legs with slight covering of white pile. Female has yellowish hair on feet, more so on front feet. Male feet are black.

Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata male on Milkweed flower. June 29, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata male on Milkweed flower. June 29, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.

Abdomen: Long, easily curled. Segments constricted at each end (spare tire look); rough punctured and with a line of white hair across lower margins. Segment 1 base flattened. Abdomen tip rounded, with fringe of white hair. Underside covered with pale yellowish-white hair (pollen basket).
Male has rounded projection on underside of segment 1. Abdomen tip always curled under.

Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata male on Milkweed flower. June 29, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.
Leaf-cutter Bee Heriades carinata male on Milkweed flower. June 29, 2014. Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species:
Chelostoma species have much smoother skin (no dense punctures); C. rapunculi male has projection on underside of abdominal segment 2, not 1.
Hoplitis have oddly shaped antennae with pointed tips, smoother skin (no dense punctures).
Heriades leavitti female does not have angled mandibles; male has long pointed projection on underside of abdominal segment 1; reddish toes.
Heriades variolosa female does not have angled mandibles; male is smaller (5 mm), has very small, barely visible projection on underside of abdominal segment 1, usually pointed, and orange-red on front thigh (femora) of legs.

Size: 7 mm.

Habitat: Dry, open areas; prairies and meadows.

Food: Nectar from a variety of flowers.

Flight Time: June to August in Ontario.

Life Cycle: Often uses old nests of Sweat Bee Hylaeus and Leaf-cutter Osmia, Sumac twigs and old beetle tunnels in logs. About 5 or 6 cells are made in tunnel. Resin used for cell partitions. Males hatch out about 5 days before females. Over-winter as mature larvae. One generation per year.
Parasites: Sapygid Wasp Sapyga louisae; Leucospis affinis, and Leaf-cutter Cuckoo Bee Stelis vernalis.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies, Lake Erie Islands. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Also Niagara, Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

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