Researchers Discover Fifteen New And Odd Looking Bee Species

Researchers Discover Fifteen New And Odd Looking Bee Species

There exists many insect species that secretly, and not so secretly, dwell within the nests of other species. Many wasp species are notable for nesting and laying eggs within other insect species nests. Bees, on the other hand, are not so well known for squatting and raising their offspring within the nests of different insect species. However, cuckoo bee species are one of the few types of bees that do invade foreign nests. Not surprisingly, these bees are often confused with wasps due to the similar features that these two insect groups share. Cuckoo bees are not well studied because many undocumented cuckoo species look nearly identical to many already documented cuckoo species. Making an accurate distinction between documented and undocumented cuckoo species is not easy without thorough examinations that involve sophisticated equipment. Researchers searching for new insect species in the wild may ignore new cuckoo specimens since they may closely resemble cuckoo specimens that have already been described by science. In addition to these species identification problems, cuckoo bees are also excessively small, and can be very difficult to capture. Although this insect species is notoriously elusive, researchers from New York University recently found and documented fifteen previously unknown cuckoo bee species.

Now that fifteen new cuckoo bee species have been discovered, the total amount of documented cuckoo bees in North America today amounts to forty three different species that belong to the Epeolus genus. Cuckoo bees are surprisingly abundant within North America, but most of these species are never seen by human eyes. This is because cuckoo species hover low to the ground where their tiny five to ten millimeter long bodies cannot be perceived against the background of nature. The new cuckoo bee specimens were discovered by York University PhD Candidate Thomas Onuferko. According to Onuferko, many of these new cuckoo species have been seen by both experts and average people for several years, but until now, nobody has bothered to formally describe or even name the cuckoo specimens. Cuckoo bees are best known for their practice of sneaking unseen into the nests of other insect species, mostly solitary bee species. Cuckoo bee larvae eventually feed on the nest’s inhabitants until it is strong enough to fly away.

Have you ever tried to catch a strange looking insect in order to have it identified?


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