Domain: Eukarya
This species is a part of the domain Eukarya because it has a true nucleus and has membrane bound organelles. Another eukaryotic organism is the Danaus plexippus, also known as the Monarch Butterfly (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). For more information on the Monarch Butterfly click here.

Kingdom: Animalia

This species is a part of the kingdom Animalia because it is heterotrophic, meaning it relies on plants and other species to gain energy. In contrast to plants, animal cells do not have a rigid cell wall made of cellulose.  (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). This kingdom has a vast diversity of organisms, including Ursus maritimus, commonly known as the Polar Bear. Click here to learn more about this organism.

Phylum: Arthropoda

This species is a part of the phylum Arthropoda because it has the unique characteristic of ecdysis, meaning that it molts. In order to grow, arthropods must shed their exoskeleton as these cannot develop with the organism. In addition, the Eastern Carpenter Bee is equipped with jointed limbs. These limbs allow for greater mobility and movement. Another characteristic that groups Xylocopa virginica into the Arthropoda phyla would be that it has bilateral symmetry. This means that this organism has identical structures on both the right and left side of their body. Arthropoda is a vastly diverse phylum that makes up around 80% of the kingdom Animalia. (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).
Class: Insecta
This species is a part of the class Insecta which makes up about two thirds of the phyla Arthropoda. X.virginica has three body sections including a head, thorax, and abdomen. Insects are the only invertebrate to accomplish flight by utilizing either one or two pairs of wings. When not in flight, the class Insecta accomplishes movement on the ground by using three pairs of legs (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). Click here to see the Common Green Darner Dragonfly, Anax junius, an organism that embodies these characteristics.

Order: Hymenoptera

Hymenoptera can be broken into two words, "hymen-" meaning membrane and "-ptera" meaning wings (Meyer 2009). This species is a part of the order Hymenoptera which encompasses wasps, bees, ants, bumblebees, sawflies, and parasitic wasps. All of these organisms have two pairs of wings that have fewer veins compared to other insects (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). The two sets of wings are linked together and form a single surface to create more effortless flight (Meyer 2009).
Photo courtesy of Jay Evans. Photo courtesy of Jay Evans.
Figure 1. X. virginica is a part of the order Hymenoptera. This order is closely related to the orders Lepidoptera and Diptera. The order Lepidoptera is made up of butterflies and moths, while order Diptera consists of flies (BugGuide 2013). This data is displayed morphologically showing the names of each order and their relatedness to other orders.

Family: Apidae
All members of the family Apidae are bees. This family is made up of Honey Bees, Digger Bees, Cuckoo Bees, and Bumblebees. The bodies of these bees contain more hair than other Hymenoptera including wasps and ants (BugGuide 2013).

Genus: Xylocopa
Xylocopa is latin for "woodcutter" (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). Xylocopa refers to large Carpenter Bees estimated to be around 20 mm or larger (Grissell et al. 2011). Their abdomens differ greatly from honey bees as they have smooth black abdomens compared to a hairy abdomen on the honey bee. Xylocopa males can be distinguished as having much larger eyes than females. These bees choose wood as their preferred habitat (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). To learn more about X. virginica nesting strategies visit our Habitat page.

Xylocopa virginica
Xylocopa virginica
is commonly known as the Eastern Carpenter Bee.This organism contains characteristics that have researchers debating whether it is eusocial or solitary (Richards 2011). 

Figure 2. This phylogenetic tree shows the relationships that X. virginica share with other bees.  From this tree it can be seen that X. virginica forms a sister group with Xylocopa frontalis. X. virginica is part of the clade Xylocopinae. This clade also consists of Xylocopa frontalis, Xylocopa pubescens, and Xylocopa bombylans. This data is displayed morphologically (Flores-Prado et al. 2010).

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