Macropis Cuckoo Bee
Scientific Name: Epeoloides pilosulus
Other/Previous Names: Epeoloides pilosula
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: Nova Scotia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2011
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:
This species is a habitat specialist, requiring both a suitable host (Macropis bees) and their host’s foodplant. The foodplant requires moist habitat and the host bee requires sunny, sandy slopes for its nest site. Historically in Canada, this species was known from six sites across five provinces. Despite recent increases in bee surveying activity nationwide, it has been found in Canada only once in the past fifty years and has not been seen again at this locality or nearby despite recent extensive searches. With only one location and a predicted continuing decline in habitat area and quality, this species is at imminent risk of extinction.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2011.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2018-05-30
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
The Macropis cuckoo bee, Epeoloides pilosulus (Cresson), is the only North American member of a genus that contains two species, the other being found in the Old World. Epeoloides is the only genus of the tribe Osirini (Apidae, Apinae) found in both the New and Old World, the remaining genera are otherwise restricted to the Neotropics. All Osirini are cleptoparasites (i.e., cuckoos), thought to have oil-collecting bees as hosts, many of them are rare. Cleptoparasitic bee females sneak into the nests of their hosts and lay eggs on the food provision collected by the host bee. The egg or larva of the host bee is killed by the cleptoparasite. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2011]
Distribution and Population
Historically, Epeoloides pilosulus ranged throughout much of eastern and central North America. In Canada, Epeoloides pilosulus has been found originally from Quebec, but has since been reported from Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In the past 40 years, it has only been collected in Canada at only one site in Nova Scotia and has not been found in more recent surveys there. In the United States, it was reported from Massachusetts south to Georgia and west to Montana. Recently it has been found only once in the U.S. Until the recent captures of two male specimens of Epeoloides pilosulus in Nova Scotia (2002) and one female in Connecticut (2006), this species was thought to be possibly extinct as no specimens had been seen since the early 1960s and very few since the early 1940s. Despite the commonness and wide distribution of oil-producing Lysimachia, E. pilosulus is very rare. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2011]
Epeoloides pilosulus is found in habitats supporting both Macropis bees (Melittidae) and their food plant, Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia). Most species of Lysimachia known to be food hosts for Macropis bees in North America grow in swampy or moist habitats, and several are relatively common (and much more widely distributed than Macropis). Nest sites of Macropis (which serve as the “nesting sites” of Epeoloides pilosulus) are typically located within or adjacent to the host plant population, usually in sandy soil with sun exposure and vegetative undergrowth. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2011]
Epeoloides pilosulus attacks nests of Macropis in North America, a genus which is dependent on its floral host, Lysimachia, for pollen and floral oil, though nectar from other plant species is also collected. Epeoloides coecutiens (Fabricius, 1775) from Europe is known to attack Macropis nests which it locates by the scent of nesting provisions (i.e., pollen and oil from Lysimachia flowers). [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2011]
The main factors contributing to the tenuous existence of this species are primarily linked to loss or reduction of Macropis nesting sites. Both cleptoparasite and host bee are dependent on host plant populations of suitable size, and their distribution is thus restricted within the range of the food plant. As the oil-producing Lysimachia species normally used by North American Macropis usually grow in wet or swampy habitats, populations may be isolated from one another, preventing gene flow among both floral and bee populations. Under such conditions, local extirpation of both bee species is possible due to intrinsic factors linked to the haplodiploid reproductive system of bees, i.e., the production of sterile or inviable males instead of fertile females as population size declines, leading to fewer egg-laying females in the population which exacerbates the other impacts of small population size. Loss of large stands of Lysimachia through natural and anthropogenic causes with resulting increased distances between isolated patches are probably affecting Macropis populations, which in turn is probably the main factor contributing to the rarity of Epeoloides pilosulus. [Updated by COSEWIC - May. 2011]
The Macropis Cuckoo Bee is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Macropis Cuckoo Bee (Epeoloides pilosulus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Macropis Cuckoo Bee (2011-12-08)This species is a habitat specialist, requiring both a suitable host (Macropis bees) and their host’s foodplant. The foodplant requires moist habitat and the host bee requires sunny, sandy slopes for its nest site. Historically in Canada, this species was known from six sites across five provinces. Despite recent increases in bee surveying activity nationwide, it has been found in Canada only once in the past fifty years and has not been seen again at this locality or nearby despite recent extensive searches. With only one location and a predicted continuing decline in habitat area and quality, this species is at imminent risk of extinction.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.