Strange new species of bee discovered with dog-like snout

Leioproctus zephyrus
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leioproctus zephyr

Specimen of a new species of bee, Leioproctus zephyr. Credit: Curtin University

A new species of native bee with a dog-like “snout” has been discovered in the Perth bushland of Western Australia. It was identified through research led by Curtin University that sheds new light on our most important pollinators.

Dr. Kit Prendergast, of the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences, named the new species after his pet dog Zephyr after noticing that a protruding part of the insect’s face resembled a dog’s snout. The name also acknowledges the role his dog played in providing him with emotional support during his Ph.D. Dr. Prendergast is the author of a paper on the discovery that was published October 31 in the Hymenoptera Research Journal.

According to Dr. Prendergast, the rare and remarkable find would add to existing knowledge about our evolving biodiversity. He would also ensure that the bees, called leioproctus zephyrthey were protected by conservation efforts.

“When I first examined the specimens I collected during my PhD surveys to discover the biodiversity of native bees in the urbanized regions of the Southwest WA Biodiversity Hotspot, I was instantly intrigued by the very unusual face of the bee,” he said. Dr. Prendergast said.

Leioproctus zephyrus specimen

Specimen of a new species of bee, Leioproctus zephyr. Credit: Curtin University

“When I went to identify it, I found that it did not match any described species, and I was sure that if it was a known species, it would be fairly easy to identify given how unusual it was in appearance.

“You can only confirm a particular species once you look at it under a microscope and go through the long process of trying to compare its characteristics to other identified species, and then review the museum collections.

“In examining the WA Museum’s entomology collection, I discovered that some specimens of leioproctus zephyr it had been collected for the first time in 1979, but had never been scientifically described.”

Dr. Prendergast said she was excited to play a role in bringing this species to light and officially naming it.

“Insects in general are so diverse and so important, but we don’t have scientific descriptions or names for many of them,” Dr. Prendergast said.

“The leioproctus zephyr it has a very restricted distribution, only occurring at seven locations in southwestern WA to date, and has not been collected from its original location. They were completely absent from residential gardens and were only present in five remnants of urban bushland that I examined, where they fed on two species of flowering plants. jacksonia.

“This species is not only picky, it also has a clypeus that looks like a snout. That’s why I named them after my dog ​​Zephyr. She has been very important to my mental health and well-being during the challenging period of pursuing a Ph.D. and beyond.”

Dr. Prendergast was able to confirm that the new species was more closely related to other species than unidentified species. Leioproctuthrough[{” attribute=””>DNA barcoding.

Reference: “Leioproctus zephyr Prendergast (Hymenoptera, Colletidae, Leioproctus), an oligoletic new bee species with a distinctive clypeus” by Kit S. Prendergast, 31 October 2022, Journal of Hymenoptera Research.
DOI: 10.3897/jhr.93.85685

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