New Bee Species Discovered in Israel

by Katy - Bee Missionary January 13, 2021

New Bee Species Discovered in Israel

So many bees die daily from pesticides, diseases and lack of habitat, it always seems like a breath of fresh air when we hear about new and previously unknown bee species being discovered.

This is not only good news for bees, but also for people, since the bee is the main pollinator of the natural foods we eat.

There are 1,100 known bee species that call Israel and Palestine home. According to research published recently in the Belgian Journal of Entomology, a new bee species has been discovered that is unique to the semi-stable sand dunes of Israel’s coastal plains. This 24-page Belgian Journal of Entomology report is filled with details and amazing photos of these bees, so please check it out here.

The new species, Lasioglossum dorchini, was identified and described by taxonomist Alain Pauly from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. It is closely related to the Lasioglossum leptocephalum. This name was chosen as a tribute to Achik Dorchin, the Israeli bee researcher of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University.

Lasioglossum is a genus of wild bees in the family Halictidae, and are often referred to as sweat bees. Lasioglossum dorchini is very small, and only about 6 mm (0.24 inches) in length.

This charming but unrelated 3:52-minute video by The Common Milkweed gives us a different perspective on Lasioglossum genus bees and some of the flowers and terrain where they feel quite at home:

 

 

Of the many wild pollinators, native bees are the most important. These unmanaged bees are a tremendous asset in agricultural pollination, even though most crop pollination is carried out by managed domesticated honeybees.

Researchers are conserving native bee habitats in Israel’s central coastal plain where there are considerable non-native eucalyptus plantings that caused habitat changes and decreased biodiversity. For the past five years, Professor Yael Mandelik and Ph.D. candidate Karmit Levy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have led Israeli and Belgian researchers in studying the effects of restoration work and how it impacts and benefits local bees.

The delightful discovery of this new wild bee species occurred during their studies at Nahal Alexander National Park.

 

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Katy - Bee Missionary
Katy - Bee Missionary

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