Submitted to: Journal of Melittology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2013
Publication Date: 5/24/2013
Citation: Gonzalez, V.H., Engel, M.S., Griswold, T.L. 2013. The lithurgine bees of Australia (Hymentoptera: Megachilidae), with a note on Megachile rotundipennis. Journal of Melittology. 11: 1-19. Interpretive Summary: There is still much to learn about the classification of bees, including Lithurgini. Among the long-tongued bees, the lithurgines are distinctive due to their legs covered with little spikes and their nesting behavior where multiple young develop in a single communal pollen mass instead of in separate chambers for individual young that is normal for bees. Though there are not many species of lithurgines, they are widespread, being found on all continents except Antarctica. There is still much to be learned about the relationships in this group. Here a new genus of lithurgines, Austrothurgus, is described from Australia with three known species, one of them new to science. A key to enable recognition of the genera of Lithurgini of the world is provided, as is a key to the Australian species of lithurgines.
Technical Abstract: . Austrothurgus Gonzalez & Engel, new genus, is described and figured for three species of lithurgine bees (Megachilidae: Lithurginae: Lithurgini) from Australia. Austrothurgus is distinguished from other Lithurginae by the presence of arolia in males (absent in females), first flagellomere long in both sexes, female facial prominence mostly involving the base of clypeus, and male metabasitarsus with distinct, elevated carina on its inner surface. Austrothurgus malgaru Gonzalez, Engel, & Griswold, new species, from Western Australia is also described and figured. A neotype is designated for Lithurgus dentipes Smith and lectotypes for L. atratus Smith, L. cognatus Smith, and L. rubricatus Smith. The following two new combinations are established: A. cognatus (Smith) and A. rubricatus (Smith). An updated key to the genera of Lithurgini as well as diagnoses, illustrations, and a key to the species occurring in Australia are provided. Taxonomic notes and a new lectotype designation for the Indo-Pacific species Megachile (Eutricharaea) rotundipennis Kirby are also appended.