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Open-access, online, rapid taxonomy
ISSN: 2653-4649 (Online)

Australian Journal of 




Xanthesma (Xenohesma) perpulchra and Xanthesma (Xanthesma) brachycera are conspecific based on DNA barcodes

Kit S. Prendergast & James B. Dorey

Author details ⏷

Kit S. Prendergast [1*] & James B. Dorey [2,3,4,5]

[1] School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley
[2] College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Sturt Rd, Bedford Park
[3] Earth and Biological Sciences, South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide
[4] Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, Prospect St, New Haven
[5] Centre for Biodiversity and Global Change, Yale University, Prospect St, New Haven


Reflecting the state of invertebrate taxonomy globally, many bee taxa in Australia are in need of revision, and this includes the most species-rich endemic subfamily, the Euryglossinae. In addition to undescribed species, many euryglossine species have been described from only a single sex. Over 30 taxonomic papers on euryglossines have been published, however the majority of these were by a single author, and before the advent of molecular technologies that can be used to efficiently and reliably associate the sexes of these often sexually-dimorphic species.

Additionally, the reproductive behaviours of most bee species are unknown, and published observations of reproductive activities are few and far between. Based on DNA barcoding we associate the male of Xanthesma (Xenohesma) perpulchra (Cockerell, 1916) (Hymenoptera: Colletidae), with the female of Xanthesma (Xanthesma) brachycera (Cockerell, 1914). We propose that Xanthesma perpulchra syn. nov. is a junior synonym of X. brachycera, and, due to the enlarged male eyes, that X. brachycera should be placed in subgenus Xenohesma. Consistent with other X. (Xenohesma), we report swarming behaviour for this species observed in bushland remnants within an urbanised biodiversity hotspot, which can be related to the male’s enlarged eyes. Our research has indicated the value of DNA barcoding, and raises further questions regarding the taxonomy of this diverse endemic Australian subfamily.

Cite this paper as: Prendergast KS & Dorey JB (2023). Xanthesma (Xenohesma) perpulchra and Xanthesma (Xanthesma) brachycera are conspecific based on DNA barcodes. Australian Journal of Taxonomy 39: 1–10. doi:

This paper was published on: 27/10/2023





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