A Florida Museum of Natural History researcher rediscovered the metallic navy insect as they now work towards conserving this understudied and imperiled species.
Over the last 100 years, we've had to, unfortunately, hear of many animals and birds species that became endangered due to human interference in their natural habitat. In fact, there are even some animals that have gone extinct as deforestation, globalization, industrialization, and the likes have caused much harm to indigenous wildlife. So it's not every day you hear of a species that was previously declared extinct but has now been rediscovered.
Researchers deployed these bee “condos” in locations where the bee and its host plant are found to learn more about this solitary insect and its nesting behavior. (Their impact on the bee housing market is unknown at this time.) 🐝🏠 pic.twitter.com/zjlhvsSfmO— Florida Museum (@FloridaMuseum) May 7, 2020
We are talking about a rare bee species known as the Blue Calamintha. This unique insect is blue in color and had disappeared from the wild for many years now. As scientists speculated that this bee was gone permanently from the world, it has recently been rediscovered, much to all our delight. Insect researchers from Florida have stated that the blue Calamintha bee has been spotted for the first time since 2016, inciting hopes that it might even be possible to save it from extinction, the Florida Museum of Natural History reported.
The Blue Calamintha Bee's survival is dependant upon an endangered plant known as the Calamintha ashei. At this time, the Blue Calamintha Bee has no protection, which is why researchers are working to have the bee listed as an endangered species.
The blue calamintha bee was described as a species in 2011. Scientists think it only lives in Lake Wales Ridge, a disappearing ecosystem. Research by @jcdanielslab in partnership with @MyFWC will help conservation efforts of this imperiled #bee. pic.twitter.com/sTcjJlvUID— Florida Museum (@FloridaMuseum) May 7, 2020
This rare species has been recorded in four locations around a 16 square mile area in Lake Wales Ridge. Now that we know they are still out there we have so much to learn about them. “I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all,” Kimmel said in a release from the Florida Museum of Natural History, where he’s conducting his post-doctoral research. “When we spotted it in the field it was really exciting,” Kimmel said. “We’re trying to fill in a lot of gaps that were not previously known. There’s a lot of neat discoveries that can still occur.”
According to Global News, this rare bee is a hyper-local species that most likely evolved around an isolated patch of sand dunes along the central Florida ridge. Scientists are now hoping to figure out just how many bees there are alive in the area. “Having this bee in more abundance than we expected is really encouraging for its survival,” Kimmel told Weather.com. “I haven’t found the bee in a couple of weeks,” Kimmel said, adding “I’m coming up a bit short right now.” He explains this is probably because “the season is wrapping up right now.” Finding the bee in early March as he had, he explained, was a week before anyone had ever seen it based on past insect specimens. He posits that it was because “it was a very early spring this year— it was very dry.”
#Florida’s rare blue calamintha bee was feared extinct until researchers in @jcdaniels lab rediscovered the species this spring in Lake Wales Ridge. Look how BLUE! #DaBaDeeDaBaDie 😍🐝🐝🐝 #UFBugs— Florida Museum (@FloridaMuseum) May 7, 2020
Story: https://t.co/PnSuDJoX4O pic.twitter.com/ju4iQrBloQ
The ongoing research to help understand and conserve the endangered status of the bee is being funded by a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission grant through the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. According to them, this particular research will fall under the grant's qualifications to conserve important wildlife habitats and prevent species extinction. “There was a lack of scientific information regarding the occurrence and life history of the bee [and more] information was needed to make an informed determination regarding the classification status for this species under the Endangered Species Act,” according to a spokesperson at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.