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All species range from entirely to at least partially metallic (the face and/or tegulae), though much of the body in some species may be brown/black in color and hairy.
At least one of its species, Eufriesea purpurata from Brazil, has been shown to selectively collect large quantities of the insecticide DDT without any apparent adverse effects. Individual bees were observed to collect as much as 2 mg, which is in the percent range of body weight. The males of orchid bees are known to collect aromatic fragrances from certain kinds of orchids, and it is thought that they use these in territorial display and courtship, probably as precursors of their own pheromones. Some orchid bees have also been found to collect fragrances from rotten wood.
The genus Eufriesea contains the following species:
- Helaeomyia petrolei, a fly whose maggots develop in crude petroleum
- Anjos-Silva, Evandson J. dos; Camillo, Evandro; Garófalo, Carlos A. (December 2006). "Occurrence of Aglae caerulea Lepeletier & Serville (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossini) in the Parque Nacional da Chapada dos Guimarães, Mato Grosso State, Brazil". Neotropical Entomology. 35 (6): 868–870. doi:10.1590/S1519-566X2006000600024.
- Roberts, Donald R.; Alecrim, Wilson D.; Heller, Jack M.; Ehrhardt, Susan R.; Lima, Jose B. (6 May 1982). "Male Eufriesia purpurata, a DDT-collecting euglossine bee in Brazil". Nature. 297 (5861): 62–63. doi:10.1038/297062a0.
- "Eufriesea". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
- Whitten, W. Mark; Young, Allen M. & Stern, David L. (1993): Nonfloral sources of chemicals that attract male euglossine bees (Apidae: Euglossini). Journal of Chemical Ecology 19(12): 1573-1561. doi:10.1007/BF00980599
- Cameron, Sydney A. (2004): Phylogeny and Biology of Neotropical Orchid Bees (Euglossini). Annual Review of Entomology 49: 377-404. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.49.072103.115855
- Roubik, D. W. (1989): Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
- Vetter, Walter & Roberts, Donald (2007): Revisiting the organohalogens associated with 1979-samples of Brazilian bees (Eufriesea purpurata). Science of The Total Environment 377: 371-377. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.02.009
- David Roubik (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute): Diagnostic photographs of several Eufriesea species:
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