Large Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa)
The large carpenter bees are distinctive bees grouped into one tribe (Xylocopini) and a single genus (Xylocopa) of the very large family Apidae. Although they are most species-rich in the tropics, Xylocopaare found in temperate and desert/xeric habitats of all continents except Antarctica. They are among the largest-bodied of all bees, which presumably relates to the effort and musculature needed to excavate nests in hard, sound wood. This nesting habit, along with their longevity and the degree of parental care, makes them unusual. Nest foundresses live long enough to interact extensively with their adult offspring. However, the overlap of generations does not lead invariably to social colonies. It is common in the same population to find nests ranging from solitary to social colonies with highly variable organization. Social behavior in a given nest appears to be the outcome of an interplay of ecological constraints, relatedness of nestmates, and physiological condition of the...
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