, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 624–633 | Cite as

Nesting biology of the leafcutting bee Megachile (Pseudocentron) gomphrenoides (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) in an agro-ecosystem

  • Juan Pablo Torretta
  • Silvana Patricia Durante
  • María Guadalupe Colombo
  • Alicia Mabel Basilio
Original article


The nesting biology of the leafcutting bee Megachile (Pseudocentron) gomphrenoides Vachal (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) was studied in an agro-ecosystem in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Data were obtained from trap-nests placed in the field margin during two agricultural years (2008/2009 and 2009/2010). Females made an average of 7.55 cells per nest, and used leaves of at least three plant species to build their nests. Provisions of cells were principally of Asteraceae pollen. Adult emergence showed a bimodal pattern suggesting a facultative bivoltinism life cycle. Approximately, 30 % of all offspring failed to complete development to the adult stage and an additional 10 % were killed by natural enemies. These included parasitic wasps (Eulophidae: Melittobia and Horismenus), a cleptoparasite bee (Megachilidae: Coelioxys), and a bristle beetle (Meloidae: Tetraonyx). The host/cleptoparasite association between M. gomphrenoides and Coelioxys remissa constitutes the first such record for both species, and the MegachileTetraonyx interaction was previously unknown. M. gomphrenoides possesses some characteristics that make it an interesting potential opportunity to use this species for pollination of commercial sunflowers in the Pampean region.


solitary bees trap-nest pollination Argentina 


  1. Aguiar, C.M.L., Garófalo, C.A. (2004) Nesting biology of Centris (Hemisiella) tarsata Smith (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Centridini). Rev. Bras. Zool. 21, 477–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguiar, C.M.L., Garófalo, C.A., Almeida, G.F. (2005) Trap-nesting bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in areas of dry semideciduous forest and caatinga, Bahia. Brazil. Rev. Bras. Zool. 22, 1030–1038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ascher J., Pickering, J. (2011) Bee species guide (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila). http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Apoidea_species. [accessed 23 Aug 2011].
  4. Bosch, J., Sgolastra, F., Kemp, W.P. (2008) Life cycle ecophysiology of Osmia mason bees used as crop pollinators. In: James, R.R., Pitts-Singer, T.L. (eds.) Bee pollination in agricultural ecosystems, pp. 83–104. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buschini, M.L.T. (2006) Species diversity and community structure in trap-nesting bees in Southern Brazil. Apidologie 37, 58–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Claude-Joseph, F. (1926) Recherches biologiques sur les Hyménoptères du Chili (Mellifères). Ann. Sci. Nat. Zool Paris 9, 113–268Google Scholar
  7. D’Ambrogio, A.C. (1986) Manual de técnicas en histología vegetal. Hemisferio Sur, Buenos AiresGoogle Scholar
  8. De Santis, L. (1973) Himenópteros parásitos de “megaquilas” en la República Argentina. Ciencia y Abejas 6, 15–19Google Scholar
  9. Donald, P.F., Evans, A.D. (2006) Habitat connectivity and matrix restoration: the wider implications of agri-environment schemes. J. Appl. Ecol. 43, 209–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Durante, S.P., Torretta, J.P. (2010) First description of male of Megachile (Pseudocentron) gomphrenoides Vachal and redescription of female (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). T. Am. Entomol. Soc. 136, 235–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Durante, S.P., Cabrera, N.C., Gómez de la Vega, L.E. (2008) Megachilidae. In: Claps, L.E., Debandi, G., Roig-Juñent, S. (eds.) Biodiversidad de artrópodos argentinos, vol. 2, pp. 421–433. Sociedad Entomológica Argentina ediciones, MendozaGoogle Scholar
  12. Erickson, E.H., Enns, W.R., Werner, F.G. (1976) Bionomics of the bee-associated Meloidae (Coleoptera); bee and plant hosts of some Nearctic meloid beetles—a synopsis. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 69, 959–970Google Scholar
  13. Freitas, B.M., Imperatriz-Fonseca, V.L., Medina, L.M., de MP, Kleinert A., Galetto, L., Nates-Parra, G., Quezada-Euán, J.J.G. (2009) Diversity, threats and conservation of native bees in the Neotropics. Apidologie 40, 332–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Garófalo, C.A., Martins, C.F., Alves-dos-Santos, I. (2004) The brazilian solitary bee species caught in trap nests. In: Freitas, B.M., Pereira, J.O.P. (eds.) Solitary bees. Conservation, rearing and management for pollination, pp. 77–84. Imprensa Universitária, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  15. Genaro, J.A. (1996) Plantas usadas por abejas del genero Megachile para construir las celdillas de sus nidos (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Caribb. J. Sci. 32, 365–368Google Scholar
  16. Hall, A.J., Rebella, C.M., Ghersa, C.M., et al. (1992) Field-crop systems of the Pampas. In: Pearson, C.J. (ed.) Field Crop Ecosystems [Ecosystems of the World, 18], pp. 413–449. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  17. Hansson, C., Aebi, A., Benrey, B. (2004) Horismenus species (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in a bruchid beetle parasitoid guild, including the description of a new species. Zootaxa 548, 1–16Google Scholar
  18. Kremen, C., Williams, N.M., Thorp, R.W. (2002) Crop pollination from native bees at risk from agricultural intensification. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 16812–16816PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Krombein, K.V. (1967) Trap-nesting wasps and bees: life history, nests, and associated. Smithsonian Press, WashingtonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Loyola, R.D., Martins, R.P. (2006) Trap-nest occupation by solitary wasps and bees (Hymenoptera: Aculeata) in a forest urban remanent. Neotrop. Entomol. 35, 41–48PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Matthews, R.W., González, J.M., Matthews, J.R., Deyrup, L.D. (2009) Biology of the parasitoid Melittobia (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Annu. Rev. Entomol. 54, 251–266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Medan, D., Torretta, J.P., Hodara, K., de la Fuente, E.B., Montaldo, N. (2011) Effects of agriculture expansion and intensification on the vertebrate and invertebrate diversity in the Pampas of Argentina. Biodivers. Conserv. 20, 3077–3100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Michener, C.D. (2007) The bees of the World, 2nd edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  24. Moure, J.S., Melo, G.A.R., DalMolin, A. (2007) Megachilini. In: Moure, J.S., Urban, D., Melo, G.A.R. (eds.) Catalogue of bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in the Neotropical Region, pp. 917–1001. Sociedade Brasileira de Entomologia, CuritibaGoogle Scholar
  25. Pinto, J.D., Bologna, M.A. (1999) The New World genera of Meloidae (Coleoptera): a key and synopsis. J. Nat. Hist. 33, 569–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pitts-Singer, T.L., Cane, J.H. (2011) The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata: the world’s most intensively managed solitary bee. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 56, 221–237PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Raw, A. (2004) Ambivalence over Megachile. In: Freitas, B.M., Pereira, J.O.P. (eds.) Solitary bees. Conservation, rearing and management for pollination, pp. 175–184. Imprensa Universitária, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  28. Raw, A. (2007) An annotated catalogue of the leafcutter and mason bees (genus Megachile) of the Neotropics. Zootaxa 1601, 1–127Google Scholar
  29. Roig, A.A. (2008) Apiformes. In: Claps, L.E., Debandi, G., Roig-Juñent, S. (eds.) Biodiversidad de artrópodos argentinos, vol. 2, pp. 373–390. Sociedad Entomológica Argentina ediciones, MendozaGoogle Scholar
  30. Roubik, D.W. (1992) Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Rust, R.W., Cambon, G., Torre Gross, J.-P., Vaissière, B.E. (2004) Nesting biology and foraging ecology of the wood-boring bee Lithurgus chrysurus (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 77, 269–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Selander, R.B., Martinez, A. (1984) A synopsis of the genus Tetraonyx in Argentina (Coleoptera: Meloidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 86, 913–929Google Scholar
  33. Silveira, F.A. (2004) Monitoring pollinating wild bees. In: Freitas, B.M., Pereira, J.O.P. (eds.) Solitary bees: conservation, rearing and management for pollination, pp. 73–76. Imprensa Universitária, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  34. Soriano, A., León, R.J.C., Sala, O.E., et al. (1991) Río de la Plata grasslands. In: Coupland, R.T. (ed.) Natural grasslands. Introduction and Western Hemisphere. [Ecosystems of the World 8A], pp. 367–407. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  35. Tesón, A., Dagoberto, E., Lizarralde, M., Loiácono, M. (1976) Himenópteros polinizadores de la zona de Bellocq (Buenos Aires—República Argentina). Ciencias y Abejas 2, 33–40Google Scholar
  36. Tognetti, P.M., Chaneton, E.J., Omacini, M., Trebino, H.J., León, R.J.C. (2010) Exotic vs. native plant dominance over 20years of old-field succession on set-aside farmland in Argentina. Biol. Conser. 143, 2494–2503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Torretta, J.P., Durante, S.P. (2011) Nesting ecology of Megachile (Sayapis) mendozana Cockerell and its synonymy with Megachile (Sayapis) santiaguensis Durante (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Zootaxa 3008, 63–68Google Scholar
  38. Torretta, J.P., Navarro, F., Medan, D. (2009) Visitantes florales nocturnos del girasol (Helianthus annuus, Asterales: Asteraceae) en la Argentina. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Arg. 68, 339–350Google Scholar
  39. Torretta, J.P., Medan, D., Roig, A.A., Montaldo, N. (2010) Visitantes florales diurnos del girasol (Helianthus annuus, Asterales: Asteraceae) en Argentina. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Arg. 69, 17–32Google Scholar
  40. Villanueva-Gutiérrez, R., Roubik, D.W. (2004) Pollen sources of long-tongued solitary bees (Megachilidae) in the Biosphere Reserve of Quitana Rôo, México. In: Freitas, B.M., Pereira, J.O.P. (eds.) Solitary bees. Conservation, rearing and management for pollination, pp. 185–190. Imprensa Universitária, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  41. Zillikens, A., Steiner, J. (2004) Nest architecture, life cycle and cleptoparasite of the Neotropical leaf-cutting bee Megachile (Chrysosarus) pseudanthidioides Moure (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 77, 193–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag, France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Pablo Torretta
    • 1
    • 4
  • Silvana Patricia Durante
    • 2
  • María Guadalupe Colombo
    • 2
  • Alicia Mabel Basilio
    • 3
  1. 1.Facultad de AgronomíaCátedra de Botánica AgrícolaBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.División EntomologíaMuseo de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  3. 3.Cunicultura y Apicultura, Facultad de AgronomíaCátedra de AviculturaBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina

Personalised recommendations