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Yellow faced bees

Hylaeus kuakea
U.S. State

Hylaeus kuakea is a small bee endemic to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It is distinguished by the unusual ivory facial marks. It is similar to H. anthracinus, differing by the facial marks and longer hairs on the head. It is known only from two specimens collected in 1997.




Black, with a single large ivory facial mark covering the clypeus and a narrow strip of the paraocular area. Process of 8th sternum weakly dilated.



Unknown. Hylaeus kuakea does not fit into any of the well-defined species groups. The facial marks are similar to those of the difficilis group and H. anthracinus, but the color is distinctive.


Taxonomic Status

Hylaeus kuakea was collected in 1997 and described in Daly and Magnacca (2003).


Life History

H. kuakea probably inhabits lowland mesic forest. Nesting habits are unknown.



H. kuakea is known only from one site in the Waianae Mountains of Oahu. The full range is unknown.


Conservation Status

Xerces Red List Status: Critically Imperiled

Other Rankings:

Canada – Species at Risk Act: N/A
Canada – provincial status: N/A
Mexico: N/A
USA – Endangered Species Act: None
USA – state status: None
NatureServe: GNR
IUCN Red List: N/A

This species is extremely rare.




The rarity of H. kuakea and lack of knowledge about its requirements make it difficult to assess threats. Mesic forest has been severely impacted by feral ungulates and fire, and the Waianae area has not been extensively searched for bees.


Conservation Needs

Some important conservation needs are to identify extant populations and document the continued existence of the species. The only known site for H. kuakea is in the Nature Conservancy’s Honouliuli Preserve. All areas where it is likely to be found are protected under the auspices of the State of Hawaii or the U.S. Army, though they may not be actively managed for habitat conservation. Research is needed in order to locate new populations and identify habitat requirements and reasons for rarity.



Daly, H. V., and K. N. Magnacca. 2003. Insects of Hawaii, Vol. 17: Hawaiian Hylaeus (Nesoprosopis) Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 234 pp.



Magnacca, K. N. 2005. Species Profile: Hylaeus kuakea. 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.


Prepared By

Profile prepared by Karl Magnacca, USGS-BRD, Kilauea Field Station