Bees of New Mexico

Table of Contents

Cockerell's list of bees, 1906 
Recent lists of bees 
Scientific names

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Cockerell's List of Bees, 1906

The estimate of 500 bee species in New Mexico comes from a paper by an early pioneering NMSU entomologist, T.D.A. Cockerell,  In 1906 Cockerell published a paper titled "The Bees of New Mexico" (Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 32:289-313).  Since that time there have been taxonomic revisions that resulted in name changes for some species.  Undoubtedly some of the species that were common in 1906 are now rare or perhaps even extinct because of habitat loss, pesticide use, climate changes or other factors.  Other bees may have increased in number if they did well in disturbed habitat, if their host plants have increased, or if Cockerell happened to miss them in his collections.  Several researchers are studying the bees of New Mexico,  The bees that find can be compared with those listed a century earlier.

See Cockerell's list of bees of New Mexico.

On this page are listed a few of the species that were present in Cockerell's 1906 list that may prove to be pollinators of fruit trees.  Return to this page for periodic updates as species are confirmed, and as new species are found.  Information on the biology of the bees will be added gradually, along with photos, distributions and other information as available.

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Recent Lists of Bees of New Mexico

Since 2001, Karen Wetherill has been monitoring bees at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro County in central New Mexico for the University of New Mexico.  The Sevilleta includes almost 100,000 ha of land that has floristic influences from the Chihuahuan Desert to the south, the Great Plains grassland from the east, The Great Basin Desert from the northwest, and montane
vegetation as one moves up in elevation.   Her report, including a description of habitats, collection methods, and a list of species collected, can be found on the Sevilleta web site.  This lists includes over 150 species of bees, some of which have not yet been identified.  How many of these bees are on Cockerell's list?

Dr. Leah Larkin is revising the genus Andrena.  She has submitted a list of the Andrena of New Mexico including several new species.

On the list below, I have indicated a few species that I have collected in the spring in Northern New Mexico..  Others who have collected bees in New Mexico are encouraged to contact me. 

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A note about scientific, or Latin names:  All organisms are classified and identified by a scientific name which consists of a genus name, and a species name within the genus. The names are written in Latin, and often describe some characteristic of the organism.  Alternatively the organism may be named after a person (family member, colleague, benefactor).  The genus name is capitalized.  When a list contains several species within the same genus, the genus name is often abbreviated with the first letter followed by a period.  The species name is not capitalized unless it is a proper name.  The genus and species names are italicized or underlined.  Following the species name is an abbreviation of the taxonomist's name who gave the organism it's genus and species names.  For example, species followed by CKll. was named by Cockerell.  If the taxonomist's name is in parentheses, then the species  was originally in a different genus.

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Colletes, "plasterer" or "polyester" bees, so called because they line the cells of their nests with a salivary secretion that is cellophane-like.  Nest in the ground, often in large aggregations. Many are active during the summer, but some are active in spring, including these:

C. zonatus Vier.   (Prunus)
C. texana Cress.  (Salix)
C. salicicola Ckll.  (Salix)

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Andrena, "Mining Bees".  Another group of ground nesting bees, many flying in the spring.

A. birtwelli Ckll.  (Heracleum)
A. carlini Ckll.
A. atala    (Polemonium)
A. mimetica

Go to Dr. Leah Larkin's list of New Mexico Andrena species.

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H. elegantula

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O. inurbana  Cress.
O. faceta
O. fulgida Cress.
O. megacephala Cress.
O. densa Cress.
O. pusilla
O. iridis
O. chlorops
O. bruneri 
O. lignaria
Say  *present in 2001
O. cerasi 
O. ribifloris
Ckll. *present in 2001?
O. phenax
O. prunorum

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Revised February 19, 2001.