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Carpenter bee (female)

Xilocopa frontalis


Size between 2 and 2.5 cm. As usual among Xylocopa species, X. frontalis does not differ morphologically from the others, but in pigmentation, in which the male is completely yellow with some darker bands in the abdominal region and the female is black, with reddish or red stripes. Like the rest of the genus, this bee has a solitary character and does not form colonies, unlike other Hymenoptera (bees, wasps). However, it still shares the instinct to build wooden nests with almost all the other members: it digs cylindrical holes about 1.30 cm wide and up to 25.4 cm deep. At the bottom of these nests the female deposits a ball of pollen paste moistened with saliva, in which she lays a single egg. Then it covers this paste with sawdust again agglutinated with oral secretions, thus forming a type of cell. This process is repeated, placing each new cell before the previous one, until the tunnel is full. Individuals go through larvae and pupa stages to the imago state. Those closest to the opening complete their metamorphosis first, emerging first from the tunnel, followed in succession by the others.


Found over a leaf of a passion fruit plant, in the backyard of a house, in the outskirts of a small rural town.

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Ava T-B
Ava T-B 2 days ago

Sergio, I'll look in the Bees In Your Backyard book I've only started and see what I can find on this.

Thank you for the info, Ava. I didn't know it. I wonder how they know which one is which. Maybe some gene in the Y cromossome makes male eggs different? I'll try to know more about it.

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 2 days ago

usually these sorts of bees put the female eggs in first, and the male eggs closer to the entrance, making sure the female bees are safe from predation!

Thank you, Mark, it is a great honor.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 days ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Sergio Monteiro
Spotted by
Sergio Monteiro

Santa Catarina, Brazil

Spotted on Mar 3, 2021
Submitted on Mar 5, 2021

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