I agree that the largest Centris (and the largest Centridini) should be in
subgenus Ptilotopus (treated as a genus by Snelling in his revision). I
just identified Centris americana in the BBSL (Utah Bee Lab) last week and
can confirm that this species is impressively large! There are some
Brazilian (and other) Ptilotopus species that are rare in collections, and
I cannot verify that americana is larger than all of these. I suspect that
the Guinness record book specimens of Centris (Ptilotopus), whether C.
americana or another species, may be in Moure's collection in Curitiba,
Brazil, which I have never visited.
Some Centris (Melacentris) [formerly Melanocentris] such as C. rhodoprocta
are also very long but may tend to be slightly smaller and more slender
than the largest Ptilotopus. The two Centris subgenera including "giants"
can be easily separated in the female by the basitibial plate. C.
(Melanocentris) possess an elevated secondary plate, whereas this is
lacking in Ptilotopus resulting in a very large basitibial plate with a
flat surface. Some C. (Melacentris) and C. (Ptilotopus) have convergent
color patterns so it is important to check subgeneric characters when
making determinations rather than relying solely on general appearance.
I wonder whichm, if any, bee genera or subgenera other than Megachile
(Callomegachile) [including M. pluto] and Xylocopa might possibly include
species as large as Centris americana?
> According to the description, Centris (Ptilotopus) americana (Klug) is up
> to 36 mm long (as C. bombiformis Spin.) which may make it the centridine
> champ. Â All Ptilotopus are large bees so even larger could be lurking out
> there, Â depending if one wants mass or length. Â You might check with
> John Ascher or someone else with access to a collection with extensive
> neotropical holdings to nail it down.Â
> John L. Neff
> Central Texas Melittological Institute
> 7307 Running Rope
> Austin,TX 78731 USA
> From: Sam Droege <sdroege@...>
> To: email@example.com
> Cc: Nancy Lowe <nancy@...>; lmartyn@...
> Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 12:41 PM
> Subject: [beemonitoring] Largest Centris Bee in the World?
> We just got a query about what the largest Centris bee
> in the world might be....are there any obvious candidates?
> Hi, Could you please help me with sum info.
> I would like to know what is the largest Species of Centris bees in the
> Waiting on your reply. All the best Lee
> Nancy Lowe
> Outreach Coordinator
> Discover Life
John S. Ascher, Ph.D.
Bee Database Project Manager
Division of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West @ 79th St.
New York, NY 10024-5192
work phone: 212-496-3447
mobile phone: 917-407-0378