Descriptions and biological notes of Ctenoplectra bees from Southeast Asia and Taiwan (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Ctenoplectrini) with a new species from North Borneo


I-Hsin Sung, 70 Muchang Rd, Hsinhua, Tainan County, Taiwan. Email:


Six Ctenoplectra species are recorded from Southeast Asia and Taiwan. They are C. chalybea Smith, C. cornuta Gribodo, C. davidi Vachal, C. elsei Engel, C. sandakana sp. nov. and C. vagans Cockerell. Females of C. sandakana sp. nov. from North Borneo are similar to the mainland species C. chalybea, but differ mainly in the clypeal keel and the length of the antennal segments. The small blackish species, C. cornuta, is distributed in Myanmar, China and Taiwan and C. davidi is distributed in China, Russia and Taiwan; both species are seen at the flowers of Thladiantha. Ctenoplectra chalybea was collected from the Malay Peninsula, Myanmar, Taiwan and Vietnam. Ctenoplectra apicalis Smith and C. kelloggi Cockerell are allied to C. chalybea; however, C. kelloggi is excluded from this study due to insufficient material. A key to the six known Ctenoplectra species is given. The large metallic species, C. chalybea and C. elsei, visit flowers of Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng. For the first time observations on the nest structures of C. chalybea and C. cornuta are presented. They choose remarkable places, such as artificial structures and buildings, for nest sites. The nest architecture prevents rain and direct sunlight from entering the nest. Bees used pre-existing holes or crevices in wood for nesting shelters and collected soil and appeared to mix it with some other substance to build nests. The cell lining materials and rubbing behaviors against the cell wall suggest that Ctenoplectra bees use floral oil mainly for cell lining materials.