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Endemic to Florida, United States, a small bee called the "blue carpenter bee," Osmia calaminthae, has been causing awe among American researchers. Besides being extremely rare, it's blue, isn't nature wonderful?
It is a completely new and rare species, recently discovered in 2011, in pine forests within a radius of only 26 square kilometers restricted to four habitat sites on the also rare Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida.
Those responsible for the discovery and research of the new species of bees are Chase Kimmel and Jaret Daniels, director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Kimmel said that when he met the blue bees in 2011, he wasn't sure he would see them again, as 2016 was the last time they were seen.
1. The reappearance of bees.
The researchers said it was a big and happy surprise that they reappeared, and now in greater numbers, found in three of their previously known locations and six additional locations up to 80 kilometers away - excellent news for a species at high risk of extinction.
2. The search
The Florida State Wildlife Action Plan lists the blue bee as the species most in need of conservation, and research can help determine whether the insects meet protection requirements under the Endangered Species Act.
For the next year, the researchers intend to record the habits of bees and specify the places where they live and understand their biology.
Very rare, blue bees were deemed "critically endangered" by the non-profit conservation organization, NatureServe.
The research is based on the help of volunteers from the Florida Museum who were very helpful in mapping and classifying the places where the pollinating bees, Ashe's calamint, can be found and thus helping the researchers to map the habitat.
It is necessary to understand that these very rare bees also inhabit rare places with a unique landscape. Lake Wales Ridge is on state protected land because it is part of Florida's geological history. Other rare species can also be found there. The place is really unique.
The region was already submerged, so its dune areas functioned as isolated islands, creating these habitats for different animals and plants.
According to a report by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, this region was considered to have the greatest biodiversity in the world and one of the most missing ecosystems in the country.
Therefore, how could it be otherwise, the rare blue bee also depends on a rare species of plant to pollinate. It is an endangered species, a flowering plant known as Ashe’s calamint (native to Florida and Georgia).
The blue bee
As well as being new, endemic, and habitat restricted, the bee is blue!
Bees have many color variations, but blue is especially different.
Everything is special about this species.
Another curiosity is that, unlike bees that live in large hives, this type prefers to live alone, in small holes or burrows in the ground, hollow stems and holes in dead trees as nests.
The coronavirus pandemic has also been affecting research on bees. The project has suffered some losses, retentions and prohibitions or impediments of detachment as preventive measures and, in crucial moments, they depend on the climatic seasons, the flowering of flowers, the pollination season, reproduction, everything interferes and interconnected and researchers are concerned.
Dimensioning actions that can contribute to the maintenance and survival of blue bees, starting with the comprehensive protection of their habitat, is the intention of researchers who intend to have the collaboration of an army to make this happen, full participation community of wide assistance to generate good results.
Article in Portuguese