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Cloak and Dagger Cuckoo Bee.jpg
Thyreus nitidulus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Melectini
Westwood, 1839

9, see text

The Melectini are a tribe of medium- to large-sized apid bees found essentially worldwide. They are brood parasites of the related typical digger bees (Anthophorini) and occasionally visit flowers e.g. in prairie landscapes of the United States. [1]

As in other cuckoo bees, females can be easily distinguished from those of their hosts by the lack of scopae and other pollen-collecting adaptations, as well as lacking prepygidial fimbria and basitibial plates. Their body hair is rather short and on the abdomen lies flat against the exoskeleton. They may, therefore, be difficult at first glance to distinguish from the Nomadinae, but the details of their wing venation are characteristic: the marginal cell is shorter than the first two submarginal cells, and the second abscissa of vein M+Cu is extremely short, with the cells it connects being almost adjacent to each other. The jugal lobes are very small, less than half as long as the vannal lobes. [1]


These bee genera belong to the Melectini: [2]

Several of these (Afromelecta, Melecta, and Xeromelecta) have subgenera which some authors may consider independent genera. [2]

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<i>Opabinia</i> Extinct stem-arthropod species found in Cambrian fossil deposits

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Squash bee Tribe of bees essential for cucurbit pollination

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<i>Holcopasites calliopsidis</i> Species of bee

Holcopasites calliopsidis is a species of cuckoo bee in the genus Holcopasites in the family Apidae. It is found in Central America and North America.

<i>Xeromelecta</i> Genus of bees

Xeromelecta is a genus of digger-cuckoo bees in the family Apidae. There are about six described species in Xeromelecta.

<i>Melecta</i> Genus of bees

Melecta is a genus of digger-cuckoo bees in the family Apidae. There are at least 50 described species in Melecta.

Xeromelecta californica, the California xeromelectum, is a species of hymenopteran in the family Apidae. It is found in Central America and North America.

<i>Paranomada</i> Genus of bees

Paranomada is a genus of cuckoo bees in the family Apidae. There are at least three described species in Paranomada.

<i>Thyreus denolii</i>

Thyreus denolli is an African species of kleptoparisitic bee. It belongs to the tribe Melectini and to the genus Thyreus, the members of which are often referred to as 'Cuckoo bees', due to their parasitic behaviour. It is one of the most distinctive Thyreus bees in Cape Verde.


  1. 1 2 Stephen, W.P.; Bohart, G.E. & Torchio, P.F. (1969): The Biology and External Morphology of Bees, With a Synopsis of the Genera of Northwestern America. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon. PDF fulltext [ permanent dead link ]
  2. 1 2 Yanega, Doug (2007): Bee Genera of the World. Version of 2007-SEP-31. Retrieved 2008-MAY-06.