Monday, 30 September 2019

Bee biodiversity barometer on Fiji



New species described as environment changes
Date:  September 23, 2019
Source:  Flinders University
The biodiversity buzz is alive and well in Fiji, but climate change, noxious weeds and multiple human activities are making possible extinction a counter buzzword.
Just as Australian researchers are finding colourful new bee species, some of them are already showing signs of exposure to environmental changes.
Flinders University PhD candidate James Dorey -- whose macrophotography has captured some of Fiji's newest bee species -- says the naming of nine new species gives researchers an opportunity to highlight the risks.
"Homalictus terminalis is named so to indicate that, like many Fijian bees, it is nearing its limit and is at risk of climate-related extinction," he says.
"Found only on Mount Batilamu near the city of Nadi, where many tourists launch their holidays, H. terminalis has only been found within 95 metres of the mountain peak."
South Australian university students on the Australian Government's New Colombo overseas study program have gone to Fiji in the south-west Pacific for several years, naming nine new species in one of their latest research publications in Zootaxa.
The impressive black Homalictus achrostus, featuring unusual large mandibles, is one of the most interesting endemic bee species on Fiji.
But, like many Fijian bee species, H. achrostus has only ever found on a single mountain top.

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