Species Profile

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.

Go to advanced search

Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

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]

Top

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]

Top

Habitat

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]

Top

Biology

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]

Top

Threats

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]

Top

Protection

Federal Protection

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

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

Top

Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Macropis Cuckoo Bee (Epeoloides pilosulus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

Top

Documents

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

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Macropis Cuckoo Bee Epeoloides pilosulus in Canada (2011-09-09)

    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.

Response Statements

  • 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.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Macropis Cuckoo Bee (Epeoloides pilosulus) in Canada (2021-10-21)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Macropis Cuckoo Bee and has prepared this recovery strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, as per section 39(1) of SARA. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the 60-day public comment period on the proposed Macropis Cuckoo Bee (Epeoloides pilosulus) in Canada has been extended to 90 days to provide sufficient time for feedback.

Orders

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.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2011 (2011-12-08)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 8, 2012 for species undergoing normal consultations and by November 8, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Related Information

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) Listing Plan 2016 to 2018 (2017-09-29)

    The status of wildlife species is assessed by an independent panel of expert Canadian scientists, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 149 terrestrial species were assessed as at-risk by COSEWIC between 2009 and 2016 and are eligible for listing under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to be considered by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment: 86 species would be new additions, 54 currently listed species would be reclassified and 9 species would be updated to reflect changes in their recognized designatable units. A three-year listing plan has been developed to address all 149 terrestrial species and listing decisions for most species are anticipated by the end of 2018. Making amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA is a two-step process. The first step is for the GIC to propose an amendment through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period. The second step is for the GIC to make a final decision on whether or not to make amendments to Schedule 1 of SARA, taking into consideration comments received during the 30-day public comment period. The amendments are made through an order in council published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. Both orders are accompanied by a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) which presents the implications of listing the species or changing their status. Publishing this plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency about the Government of Canada’s plan to make listing decisions under the Species at Risk Act. NOTE: The information presented below is intended to provide openness and transparency with respect to when terrestrial species might be considered for listing under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. It is intended to assist anyone who may wish to provide comments on such listing considerations. Given any number of factors can affect the timing of a listing decision; the Plan is subject to change. Accordingly, the Plan will be periodically updated.
Date modified: