Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Abuzz


New York City has its own bee! Lasioglossum gotham, pictured above, was discovered in 2011 by Jason Gibbs, along with 10 other new species of bee first identified in the New York and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. 

While a drastic decline in hive populations of North American honey bees due to Colony Collapse Disorder has received a lot of attention in the past few years, many people don't realize that new species of bee are still being discovered at an astounding rate, even in one of the country's most urban areas. New York City alone is home to more than 250 species of bee; “natural areas like urban parks and rooftop and botanical gardens," said Gibbs in an interview with AMNH, "provide the nesting sites and floral diversity that bees need.”

Many of the new species were described by comparison with museum catalogs; if you're interested in learning more about them, you can visit this database on known bee species of the world, or this New York Times article, with comments from Rev. Jeremiah Lott Zabriskie, the famous Brooklyn entomologist who originally called Gibbs' attention to these new species by sending him a specimen of L. katherinae.

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