Monday 25 March 2013

A new species of Oil Bee from northeast Brazil.

Oil Bees (Centridini) are largish Bees with special combs of bristles or velvety pads on their legs and abdomens, which they use to gather floral oils instead of or as well as nectar and pollen. They are mostly found in the Neotropics.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 27 December 2012, Thiago Mahlmann and Favízia Freitas de Oliveira of the Laboratório de Bionomia, Biogeografia e Sistemática de Insetos at the Instituto de Biologia at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, describe a new species of Oil Bee from northeastern Brazil, described from museum specimens examined during in a review of the genus Centris. The species has been known since at least the mid-nineteen-eighties, but has not previously been described formally.

The new species is named Centris byrsonimae; a name which has been in use for the species since 1985, when it was used by Jesus Moure to describe specimens in collections, though he never detailed his criteria for including specimens within the species and died in 2010. It is a 10 mm brown Bee.

Centris byrsonimae; female (top) and male (bottom). Scale bars are 5 mm. Mahlman & Oliviera (2012).

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