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Slender-scaped Carpenter Bee, Giant Carpenter Bee

Xylocopa tenuiscapa


Yala National Park. Carpenter bees are species in the genus Xylocopa of the subfamily Xylocopinae. The genus includes some 500 bees in 31 subgenera. The common name "carpenter bee" derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood or bamboo. The main exceptions are species in the subgenus Proxylocopa; they dig nesting tunnels in suitable soil. Many species in this enormous genus are difficult to tell apart; most species are all black, or primarily black with some yellow or white pubescence. Some differ only in subtle morphological features, such as details of the male genitalia. Males of some species differ confusingly from the females, being covered in greenish-yellow fur. Non-professionals commonly confuse carpenter bees with bumblebees; the simplest rule of thumb for telling them apart is that most carpenter bees have a shiny abdomen, whereas bumblebee abdomens are completely covered with dense hair. Males of some species of carpenter bees have a white or yellow face, unlike bumblebees, while females lack the bare corbicula of bumblebees; the hind leg is entirely hairy. The wing venation is characteristic; the marginal cell in the front wing is narrow and elongated, and its apex bends away from the costa. The front wing has small stigma. When closed, the bee's short mandibles conceal the labrum. The clypeus is flat. Males of many species have much larger eyes than the females, which relates to their mating behavior.


coastal lowlands. The Yala area is mostly composed of metamorphic rock belonging to the Precambrian era and classified into two series, Vijayan series and Highland series. Reddish brown soil and low humic grey soil are prominent among six soil types. Yala is situated in the lowest peneplain of Sri Lanka, which extends from Trincomalee to Hambantota. Topographically the area is a flat and mildly undulating plain that runs to the coast with elevation is 30 metres (98 ft) close to the coast while rising in the interior to 100–125 metres (328–410 ft). The national park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. The mean annual rainfall ranges between 500–775 millimetres (19.7–30.5 in) while the mean temperature ranges between 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in January to 30 °C (86 °F) in April. It is windier in Yala, during the southwest monsoon compared to the wind during the northeast monsoon with wind speeds from 23 kilometres per hour (14 mph) to 15 kilometres per hour (9.3 mph). Water is abundant after the northeast monsoon, but during the dry season surface water becomes an important factor. The bodies of surface water appear in the forms of streams, tanks, waterholes, rock pools, and lagoons. Waterholes occur in low lying places while rock pools of varying size are capable of containing water year-round, and are hence an important source of water for elephants. For many water birds and water buffaloes natural waterholes are ideal habitats. Such reservoirs are largely concentrated to the Block I followed by Block II. Several tanks are there including, Maha Seelawa, Buthawa, Uraniya, and Pilinnawa tanks. Many rivers and streams flow in a southeasterly direction, originating in the highlands of adjacent Uva and central hills. Kumbukkan Oya in the east and Menik River and its tributaries in the west flow across the park, and provide an important water source in the dry season to wild animals of the park. Normally the streams of the park are dry during the drought season. These rivers and streams exhibit a degree of runoff fluctuations between wet and dry seasons. Kumbukkan Oya discharges seven times as much water in the rainy season than in the dry season. A number of lagoons are situated along the coast line of the park. There are several routes to get to Yala from Colombo, while the route via Ratnapura and Tissamaharama is the shortest with 270 kilometres (170 mi).


feasting on a Crown Flower/Giant Indian Milkweed/ Ivory Plant (Calatropis gigantea)

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jazz.mann 4 months ago

thanks Ahn Tuan -- I agree, and that guide of mine knew his stuff, I should have trusted him!

Võ Anh Tuấn
Võ Anh Tuấn 4 months ago

You should be interested in Xylocopa tenuiscapa because its wing color is very similar.

Võ Anh Tuấn
Võ Anh Tuấn 4 months ago

In my opinion, you should remove Xylocopa violacea because its eye color is not blue.

jazz.mann 6 months ago

my guide called this a giant carpenter bee, xylocopa tenuiscapa, but two other guys have what look like the same species with different IDs: Xylocopa latipes (by Arun) and Xylocopa violacea (by SachindraUmesh). wondering which is correct?

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 6 months ago

Hello jazz.mann, and Welcome to the Project Noah community! We hope you like the website as much as we do. There are many aspects to the site and community. The best way to get started is to read the FAQs at where you can find all the tips, advice and "rules" of Project Noah. You, like the rest of the community, will be able to suggest IDs for species that you know (but that have not been identified), and make useful or encouraging comments on other users' spottings (and they on yours). There are also "missions" you can join and add spottings to. See Note that most missions are "local.” Be sure not to add a spotting to a mission that was outside of mission boundaries or theme. Each mission has a map you may consult showing its range. We also maintain a blog archive where we have posted previous articles from specialists from different geographical areas and categories of spottings, as well as wildlife "adventures.” So enjoy yourself, share, communicate, learn. See you around!

Spotted by

Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Spotted on Aug 13, 2017
Submitted on May 26, 2021

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