Thursday, 17 September 2015

Bush Blitz: The largest Australian nature discovery project finds four new bee species


Date: September 16, 2015

Source: Pensoft Publishers

Summary: Four new native bee species were recognized as part of the largest Australian nature discovery project 'Bush Blitz.' The South Australian bee specialists used molecular and morphological evidence to prove them as new. Three of them belonged to a group of bees with characteristic narrow heads and long mouth parts -- adaptations to the narrow constrictions at the base of the flowers of Emu-bushes (Eremophila).

Four new native bee species were recognised as part of the largest Australian nature discovery project, called 'Bush Blitz'. The South Australian bee specialists used molecular and morphological evidence to prove them as new. Three of the species had narrow heads and long mouth parts -- adaptations to foraging on flowers of emu-bushes, which have narrow constrictions at the base. The new species are described in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Bees are important pollinators of crops and native plants, but habitat loss and pesticides are proved to be causing a serious decline in their populations in Europe and the United States of America. Meanwhile, the conservation status of native Australian bees is largely unknown because solid baseline data are unavailable and about one third of the species are as yet unknown to science. Furthermore, identification of Australian bees is hampered by a lack of keys for about half of the named species.

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