New species of bee discovered by Hebrew University

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Hebrew U researchers provide new hope for bee habitat conservation amidst global decrease of bee populations.

 (photo credit: BELGIAN JOURNAL OF ENTOMOLOGY/ALAIN PAULY)

(photo credit: BELGIAN JOURNAL OF ENTOMOLOGY/ALAIN PAULY)

A notable discovery by Israeli researchers has revealed a new type of bee species, located in the coastal plain region. The study was published on November 27.

This discovery came at a convenient moment, as there has been a recent decrease in wild pollinators. Therefore, biologists have initiated habitat restoration and preservation programs in order to preserve these pollinators. With a nearly 90% decline in the world population of bees in recent years, they have been placed on the endangered species list.

In Israel’s Sharon (coastal) region, the discovery of the new bee species was made by the researchers. The study focused on the impact of restoration activities along Israel’s coastal plains. Led by Professor Yael Mandelik and PhD candidate Karmit Levy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, they have spent years studying how restoration activities affect the local bee population.

This is been the first time Israel has made to help preserve bees, as many initiatives were launched by Israel to help save honeybees in 2016.

“Beyond just the professional excitement of discovering a new species that was previously unknown to science, this finding has broader applicative value in helping us better understand bee communities, their habitat requirements and the pollination services they may provide,” Mandelik stated.

“We observed changes in bee communities and in the availability of their food and nesting resources in the restored habitats.  In general, we can see that restoration efforts have positive effects on bee communities” explained Levy.

As a result, the researchers recorded that a new species of bee believed to exclusively to be unique and live among the sand dunes found on Israel’s coastal plains. Lasioglossum dorchini, the name chosen for the new species was done in tribute to the Israeli bee researcher Dr. Achik Dorchin of Tel Aviv University.

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