Yellow faced bees: Hylaeus lunicraterius
(Hymenoptera: [Apoidea:] Collitidae: Hylaeinae)
Profile prepared by Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Hylaeus lunicraterius has only been recorded at the Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho. Little is known of its biology. It is probably a generalist forager and may nest in snags, although the dominant landscape of the Monument is lava flows, so the bee may nest in rock crevices. Although the known site of Hylaeus lunicraterius is protected, any species with such a limited distribution is at risk.
Xerces Red List Status: Vulnerable Other Rankings: Canada – Species at Risk Act: N/A Canada – provincial status: N/A Mexico: N/A USA – Endangered Species Act: N/A USA – state status: N/A NatureServe: N/A IUCN Red List: N/A
Hylaeus lunicraterius is endemic to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.
Hylaeus (Paraprosopis) lunicraterius (Snelling, 1970).
The flight season of Hylaeus lunicraterius is July to August. It appears to be a generalist forager, visiting flowers of Phacelia, Eriogonum, and members of the Compositae, such as Ericameria nauseosa (rubber rabbitbrush). Little is known about its nesting habits. It is assumed that it nests in beetle tunnels in dead wood or stems as do other members of the genus Hylaeus, but given that it occurs only in the Craters of the Moon National Monument it is possible that it nests in crevices or other holes in the lava flows. Marcot (2002) mentions it as being “associated with down wood.” The habitat of the Craters of the Moon NM is dominated by ancient lava flows interspersed with sagebrush shrub steppe.
Hylaeus lunicraterius has only been recorded at the Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho.
Since the known population of Hylaeus lunicraterius is on a National Monument, the future of this bee is likely secure, although any species with such a limited distribution is at risk.
Some important conservation needs are to protect and maintain appropriate habitat, including both nesting and foraging resources. Little is known of the biology of this species. Studies of both the nesting and foraging habits would be valuable. Searches of Craters of the Moon NM and surrounding areas should be done to confirm the distribution.
Marcot, B. G. 2002. An ecological functional basis for managing wood decay elements for wildlife. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-181. Available as a PDF (Accessed 2/15/05)
Tepedino, V.J., and T.L. Griswold. 1995. The bees of the Columbia Basin. Final report, USDA Forest Service, Portland, OR. 212 pp (Technical Report)
Los Angeles County Museum: type specimen database (Accessed 2/15/05)
Shepherd, M. D. 2005. Species Profile: Hylaeus lunicraterius. In Shepherd, M. D., D. M. Vaughan, and S. H. Black (Eds). Red List of Pollinator Insects of North America. CD-ROM Version 1 (May 2005). Portland, OR: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.