XylocopaXylocopa aerata Xylocopa bombylans

A striking bee in the commonly named carpenter group of bee, the Xylocopa bombylans, is also known as the Peacock Carpenter Bee.

This species is a stunning metallic blue-green or green in colour, although it may appear purplish from certain angles. Endemic to Australia, this species gets its common name because they burrowing into wood when nesting.

Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite
Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite

Similar to Xylocopa (Lestis) aeratus, it shares the same genus Xylocopa and subgenus infrageneric Lestis (currently the only two species listed in Lestis.

Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite
Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite

There is distinct sexual colour dimorphism between the male and female Xylocopa bombylans (Metallic Green Carpenter Bee), with the male of the species having the appearance of gold and green, whilst the female are more metallic blue green, making it easier to tell them apart. The male Xylocopa bombylans looks similar to the male Xylocopa aerata, except the male of the two species have different face colours. The male Xylocopa bombylans have white face markings, whilst the male Xylocopa aerata have yellow face markings.

Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite
Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite

It has a documented distribution along the east coast from the top of Cape York down through Queensland, New South Wales, with sightings in Victoria and parts of South Australia, as well as along the eastern seaboard and the Sydney region.

Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite
Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite

Originally described by the Danish naturalist Johan Christian Fabricius in 1775, it comes from the Latin bombylans meaning “like a bumblebee”. The genus was described by the French entomologist Pierre André Latreille, who derived the name from the Ancient Greek word xylokopos meaning “wood-cutter”.

Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite
Female Xylocopa bombylans, Carbrook QLD © Jamie Braithwaite

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Apoidea
  • Informal: Apiformes
  • Family: Apidae
  • Subfamily: Xylocopinae
  • Tribe: Xylocopini
  • Genus: Xylocopa
  • Subgenus: infrageneric Lestis
  • Species: Xylocopa bombylans

Footnote & References

  1. Photographs Xylocopa bombylans © Jamie Braithwaite
  2. Bee Aware of Your Native Bees (Australia), https://www.facebook.com/groups/beeawareofyournativebees/
  3. Xylocopa bombylans, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylocopa_bombylans (last visited May 16, 2022)

XylocopaXylocopa aerata Xylocopa bombylans

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