Description & Statistics
Oxaeidae are large bees that have a short glossa and the preepisternal groove below the scrobal depression is missing. The ocelli are positioned low on the face. There are basitibial and pygidial plates present. (Finnamore & Michener 1993). This is often placed as the American subfamily Oxaeinae of the bee family Andrenidae, with large 13-26 mm, rapid-flying bees, frequently with large eyes. There are four identified genera, with a total of 21 described species by 2011. They range from North America to Argentina. The name Oxaeidae is frequently used, and treated as a family, but they were changed to subfamily status by some specialists in 1995. A key reference is Hurd & Linsley (1976).
They can be best recognized by the extremely low position of the ocelli on the face, a feature not shared by any other large bees. Their nests are deep burrows in the ground, and provisions are a soupy mixture of pollen and nectar in cells with a waxlike waterproof lining.
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Finnamore, A. T. & C. D. Michener. 1993. Chapter 9, Superfamily Apoidea, p. 279-357. In: Goulet, H. & J. T. Huber (eds.), Hymenoptera of the World: An Identification Guide to Families. Research Branch, Agr. Canada, Publ. 1894/E. 668 p.
Michener, C. D. 2007. The Bees of the World, 2nd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press.