Saturday, April 4, 2020

[Entomology • 2020] Four New Species of Isepeolini (Hymenoptera; Apidae) from northern Chile

Isepeolus mankalunthata
Packer & Graham, 2020

Cleptoparasitic bees are less commonly collected than their hosts and often more difficult to identify and additional descriptions and treatment of diagnostic characteristics are needed.

Four new species of Isepeolini are described from northern Chile: Isepeolus mankalunthata Packer & Graham, new species; Melectoides licancabur Packer & Graham, new species, M. desiccata Packer & Graham new species and M. glaucodontus Packer & Graham new species. Putative host information is provided where possible, comments on the habitats of these bees are made and additional records of the tribe from Chile are listed.

Using traps left out for weeks to months in areas where bees are sparse is proving a useful technique to catch rare and undescribed species.

Keywords: Cleptoparasite, Colletes, Phylogeny, Host associations, Identification

Isepeolus mankalunthata Packer & Graham, new species,
male holotype - oblique dorso-lateral habitus. 

Isepeolus mankalunthata Packer & Graham sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific epithet is derived from the Aymara words for thief manka, and food lunthata, in reference to the cleptoparasitic nature of the bee.

Melectoides desiccata Packer & Graham, sp. nov.

Etymology: The type locality is in the driest desert in the world. Although the rainfall at this locality occurs regularly enough for some perennials to grow, annual amounts are very low and the vegetation extremely sparse (Fig. 9). Hence, the specific epithet refers to this degree of aridity.

Melectoides licancabur Packer & Graham, sp. nov.

Etymology: The species is named after Volcan Licancabur as the type locality is just beyond the northern slopes of the volcano which exceeds 5900 m in altitude. Licancabur means “mountain of the people” in the Atacameñan language.

Melectoides glaucodontus Packer & Graham, sp. nov.

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the greyish colour of the rutellum of the mandible.

Laurence Packer and Liam Graham. 2020. Four New Species of Isepeolini (Hymenoptera; Apidae) from northern Chile. BMC Zoology. 5: 3.  DOI: 10.1186/s40850-020-00052-8