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‘Ultra-Rare’ Blue Bee Rediscovered By Researchers In Florida

An exceptionally uncommon blue bee that scientists thought is perhaps extinct was rediscovered in Florida in March. 

Florida Museum of Natural History postdoctoral researcher Chase Kimmel discovered the metallic insect ― a blue calamintha bee ― this spring, marking the primary time the insect had been noticed since 2016, the museum stated in a media launch.

Kimmel’s discovery is a significant step towards the conservation of the little-known species, which is listed by Florida’s State Wildlife Action Plan as a species of biggest conservation want.



The blue calamintha bee was rediscovered in central Florida in March 2020. Before that, it was final noticed in 2016.

“I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” Kimmel stated.

“We observed a shiny little blue bee grabbing (an Ashe’s calamint flower) and rubbing its head on the top portion of the flower 2-3 times,” he informed USA Today. “We were pretty shocked to see it.”

Kimmel has since discovered the bee in three of the 4 places it had beforehand been recognized and 6 further locations ― a optimistic signal for the species.

The blue calamintha is believed to dwell solely within the Lake Wales Ridge area of central Florida. This biodiversity hotspot is likely one of the nation’s fastest-disappearing ecosystems, and is house to a blooming plant referred to as Ashe’s calamint ― one other threatened species, which the bees rely on for meals.

After capturing a bee, researchers place it in a plastic bag with a hole to photograph its head before releasing it. Pollen l



After capturing a bee, researchers place it in a plastic bag with a gap to {photograph} its head earlier than releasing it. Pollen left within the bag is analyzed to find out which flowers the bee visited.

The species makes use of its uncommon facial hairs to gather pollen from flowers on these crops, the museum launch stated. As a solitary bee, it really works alone, creating particular person nests as an alternative of hives. Researchers have but to discover a nest, however they hope to disclose how these bugs accomplish that as a part of their analysis.

Kimmel and his adviser, Jaret Daniels, are a part of a two-year analysis venture learning the bees. 

This analysis, funded by a grant administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, might assist decide whether or not the bee qualifies for defense beneath the Endangered Species Act.

However, the museum stated, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into the works. While Kimmel has been dwelling within the area since March, suspension of museum volunteer operations and journey has left the venture with restricted sources and scaled again the intensive fieldwork.

So till pandemic restrictions are lifted, the museum stated, Kimmel is adjusting to working just like the blue calamintha bee ― solo. 

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