ThyreusThyreus caeruleopunctatus Thyreus waroonensis

Thyreus is an Old World genus of bees and are found across Australia, with select species documented within certain regions.

Also commonly known as Thyreus Cuckoo Bees or cuckoo bees, species from this genus are kleptoparasites (exploiting other species of bees for food and in some cases laying their eggs in the other bee species nests, mainly Amegilla, but there are some that lay their eggs in the nests of Leafcutter Bees).

Waroona Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus waroonensis) © Gary Taylor
Waroona Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus waroonensis), Midwest WA © Gary Taylor

The Thyreus Cuckoo Bees are a beautiful looking bee, with contrasting patterns of colouration, some have blue spots, whilst others have white spots. There are three species from the Sydney New South Wales and north to Queensland that are bright blue and black, Thyreus lugubris, Thyreus nitidulus and Thyreus caeruleopunctatus.

Thyreus caeruleopunctatus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Thyreus caeruleopunctatus, Ballandean QLD © Marc Newman
Waroona Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus waroonensis) © Gary Taylor
Waroona Cuckoo Bee (Thyreus waroonensis) © Gary Taylor

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Apidae
  • Subfamily: Apinae
  • Tribe: Melectini
  • Genus: Thyreus
  • Species:
    • Thyreus caeruleopunctatus (Blanchard, 1840)
    • Thyreus lugubris (Smith, 1879)
    • Thyreus macleayi (Cockerell, 1907)
    • Thyreus nitidulus (Fabricius, 1804)
    • Thyreus quadrimaculatus (Radoszkowski, 1893)
    • Thyreus rotundatus (Friese, 1905)
    • Thyreus rufitarsus (Rayment, 1931)
    • Thyreus sicarius Lieftinck, 1962
    • Thyreus tinctus (Cockerell, 1905)
    • Thyreus waroonensis (Cockerell, 1913)

Footnote & References

  1. Thyreus, Images and content contribution by Gary Taylor, Western Australia
  2. Photographs Xylocopa (Lestis) aeratus, Ballandean, QLD © Marc Newman, Flickr,
  3. Thyreus, Atlas of Living Australia,

ThyreusThyreus caeruleopunctatus Thyreus waroonensis

BeesAmegilla Bee Austroplebeia australis Bees Anatomy Bee Behaviour Ceylalictus perditellus Colletidae European Honey Bee Euryglossinae Homalictus Hyleoides bivulnerata Lipotriches Megachile Meroglossa Stenotritidae Thyreus Xylocopa aerata