Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Townsendiella ensifera: A new species of Cuckoo Bee from the Pinnacles National Park in California.

Cuckoo Bees, Nomadinae, are cleptoparasitic Bees which resemble Wasps in appearance, and to some extent behavior. The group get their name from their habit of laying their eggs inside the nests of other Bees, the larvae emerging withing the sealed cells of the host species, killing the host's larvae with specialized elongate mandibles, then proceeding to eat both the host larvae and the food provided for it by its mother (cleptoparasitism).

In a paper published in the journal ZooTaxa on 16 December 2015, Michael Orr of the Biology Department at Utah State University and Terry Griswold of the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Institute's Pollinating Insects Research Unit describe a new species of Cuckoo Bee from the Pinnacles National Park in San Benito County, California.

The new species if placed in the genus Townsendiella, which is indigenous to the southwest United States and northwest of Mexico, and is given the specific name ensifera, meaning 'sword-bearer', in reference to the shape of the mouthparts and cleptoparasitic lifestyle. These are black Bees with a covering of largely white fur, though this is brownish or even reddish in places. The fur of the males is whiter than that of the females.

Townsendiella ensifera, female specimen in lateral view. Scale bar is 0.25 mm. Orr & Griswold (2015).

The Bees were active from early May to late August on the flowers of California Buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum, and Greasewood, Adenostoma fasciculatum. The host Bee for this species is unknown, though Orr and Greenwold note that Townsendiella ensifera is closely related to Townsendiella pulchra, which parasitzes Bees of the genus Hesperapis. Two species of Hesperapis are known to be present in the Pinnacles National Park, Hesperapis regularis, which is considerably larger than Townsendiella ensifera, and Hesperapis ilicifoliae which is approximately the same size, leading to the suggesting that this may be the host species for Townsendiella ensifera.

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/nest-cells-of-leafcutter-bees-from.htmlNest cells of Leafcutter Bees from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits.                       Leafcutter Bees (Megachilidae) cut their name from their habit of cutting disk-shaped segments from leaves, from which they build their nests. Each female...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/two-new-species-of-orchid-bee-from.htmlTwo new species of Orchid Bee from Columbia and Brazil.                                    The Orchid Bees (Euglossini) of Central and South America have an unusual relationship with the Orchids they pollenate, in that the Orchids do not produce a food substance with which to attract the Bees, but rather...
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/a-new-species-of-leafcutter-bee-from.htmlA new species of Leafcutter Bee from Mexico.                                                   Leafcutter Bees (Megachilidae) get their name from their habit of cutting segments from leaves with which to line their nests. They are solitary Bees, each female Bee building her own nest in a wood cavity, plant...
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2 comments:

  1. Every month i think new species are being discovered. And now this. Science is awesome!


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  2. Good find! with the advance technology we have, scientist can find new species that aren't discovered yet.



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