Xylocopa caerulea

Common name(s): Carpenter bee

A large bee, reaching slightly more than 23mm. Female is mainly black. The thorax is covered with light blue hairs, making it almost fully blue except for a small black patch in the centre. The first abdominal segment and sides of the abdomen are also lined with similar but finer and more sparse blue hairs. I am not sure of what the male looks like, although he is supposed to be similar but lighter in body colour with long blue hairs on part of his head!

This species is apparently quite widely distributed across Southeast Asia, as well as India and parts of China (Yunnan, Guangxi, Hainan).

This beautiful and distinctive carpenter bee is apparently found in Singapore; I have sighted it in MacRitchie Reservoir once, but was unable to catch it since I was inside the nature trail, where capturing anything is explicitly forbidden. I have also not been able to photograph it; it has been photographed a couple of times by local photographers. Having only seen it once and only for a few seconds, I hope to be able to learn more about its behaviour and nest sites in future, and to also photograph it.

Photo below copyright and courtesy of Melvyn Yeo. Taken in Lower Pierce Reservoir, Singapore.