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Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Halictidae
Tribe: Halictini
Genus: Lasioglossum
Curtis, 1833

see text

female Lasioglossum birkmani

The sweat bee genus Lasioglossum is the largest of all bee genera, containing over 1800 species in numerous subgenera worldwide.[1][2] They are highly variable in size, coloration, and sculpture; among the more unusual variants, some are cleptoparasites, some are nocturnal, and some are oligolectic. Most Lasioglossum species nest in the ground, but some nest in rotten logs.[3]

Social behavior among species of Lasioglossum is extraordinarily variable; species are known to exhibit solitary nesting, primitive eusociality, and social parasitism. Colony sizes vary widely, from small colonies of a single queen and four or fewer workers to large colonies of >400 workers and perennial life cycles.[4]

The genus Lasioglossum can be divided into two informal series based on the strength of the distal veins of the forewing.[5] The Lasioglossum series (or strong-veined Lasioglossum) is mostly composed of solitary or communal species, even if some species like L. aegyptiellum show signs of division of labour indicative of eusociality.[1]

Lasioglossum sp. male

The Hemihalictus series (or weak-veined Lasioglossum) includes species with a wide range of sociality.[6][4] The Hemihalictus series is composed of species which are solitary, communal, primitively eusocial, cleptoparasitic, or socially parasitic.[1] Eusocial species may have small colonies with only one or a few workers or large colonies with dozens of workers. Large colony sizes occur in L. marginatum, which forms perennial colonies lasting five or six years, with hundreds of workers; this species is the only halictine bee with perennial colonies.[4]


A list of subgenera (modified from Michener's Bees of the World):

Lasioglossum series: Australictus, Callalictus, Chilalictus, Ctenonomia, Echthralictus, Glossalictus, Homalictus, Ipomalictus, Lasioglossum s. str., Leuchalictus, Oxyhalictus, Parasphecodes, Pseudochilalictus, Rubrihalictus, Urohalictus.

Hemihalictus series: Acanthalictus, Austrevylaeus, Biennilaeus, Capalictus, Dialictus, Eickwortia, Evylaeus, Hemihalictus, Rostrohalictus, Pyghalictus, Sphecodogastra.

Subgeneric classification of Lasioglossum remains controversial, with disagreement among experts on the number and extent of subgenera.

Two of the better-known species are the European Lasioglossum malachurum and the North American species Lasioglossum zephyrus.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gibbs, J., et al. (2012). Phylogeny of halictine bees supports a shared origin of eusociality for Halictus and Lasioglossum (Apoidea: Anthophila: Halictidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65(3), 926-39.
  2. ^ Ascher, J. S. and J. Pickering. 2011. Discover Life bee species guide and world checklist (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila).
  3. ^ Gibbs, Jason (2011-10-28). "Revision of the metallic Lasioglossum (Dialictus) of eastern North America (Hymenoptera: Halictidae: Halictini)". Zootaxa. 3073 (1): 1. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3073.1.1. ISSN 1175-5334.
  4. ^ a b c Danforth, Bryan N.; Conway, Lindsay; Ji, Shuqing (2003-02-01). "Phylogeny of eusocial Lasioglossum' reveals multiple losses of eusociality within a primitively eusocial clade of bees (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)". Systematic Biology. 52 (1): 23–36. doi:10.1080/10635150390132687. ISSN 1063-5157. PMID 12554437.
  5. ^ Michener, C.D. (2000). The Bees of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press. 913 pp.
  6. ^ Michener, C.D. (1974). The Social Behavior of the Bees. Harvard University Press. 404 pp.

External links[edit]