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Journal of Hymenoptera Research



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In the summer of 2010, two male specimens of the neotropical orchid bee genus Eufriesea Cockerell were collected in the Guadalupe Mountains of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, USA. We tentatively identified them as E. coerulescens (Lepeletier de Saint Fargeau) because of the uncertainty surrounding the limits of this taxon and hypothesized that they were members of a persistent bee population, rather than long-distance transient vagrants. The goals of this paper are to clarify the identity of these specimens, assess the species limits of E. coerulescens, and to evaluate suitability of habitats in the USA for this adventive species. Herein, we revise the species in the coerulescens group using morphological features of both sexes and confirm that the specimens of Eufriesea from the USA are E. coerulescens. We recognize the following six species in the coerulescens group: E. coerulescens, E. micheneri Ayala & Engel, E. simillima (Moure & Michener), which is reinstated from synonym with E. coerulescens, and three new species from Mexico (E.barthelli Gonzalez & Griswold, sp. n., E. engeli Gonzalez & Griswold, sp. n., and E. oliveri Gonzalez & Griswold, sp. n.). To facilitate the identification of these taxa, we present a fully illustrated account of the species, comparative diagnoses, descriptions, and an updated key to all Mexican species of Eufriesea. Our analyses using species distribution modelling show an absence of suitable habitat for E. coerulescens in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, thus favoring the long-distance dispersal hypothesis. The analyses also suggest high suitability of habitats across the Caribbean and some areas in Florida, as well as in other regions in Mexico and Central America. We discuss the implications of these results and compare them with the predicted distribution available for the other two known adventive orchid bee species in the USA.