Coelioxys rufitarsis, via T'ai Roulston.

Coelioxys rufitarsis, via T’ai Roulston.

Family: Megachilidae

Genus: Coelioxys

Common Name: Cuckoo Bees

Length:  5-20 mm (0.2-0.8 in)

Link to DiscoverLife: Coelioxys Female and Coelioxys Male

Identification: Coelioxys individuals have distinctive tapered abdomens that end in a sharp point. Protruding from the last segment are short spines used to break through the brood cell walls of their host species during egg laying. The females do not have scopae on underside of their abdomens.

Foraging Habits: Coelioxys individuals do not collect pollen, as their larvae feed on the pollen of the host bees. Both males and females visit flowers for nectar.

Nesting Habits:  Coelioxys are cleptoparasites, meaning they lay eggs in the nests of leafcutter bees (in the genus Megachile in this case). The female enters the nest while the host is foraging and hides her eggs, using her sharp abdomen to penetrate the cell lining. Upon hatching, the Coelioxys larva kills the host larva and eats its pollen supply.

Specimens in Collection: 7 specimens

Species Observed: Coelioxys rufitarsis

(Mader et al. Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. 2011. The Xerces Society.)

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