Researchers in Florida rediscovered a blue bee that is considered so rare that scientists were convinced that the bee was already extinct
Chase Kimmel, a young scientist at the Florida Museum of Natural History, discovered the bee on March 9, the first time it had been seen since 2016. “We watched as a shiny tiny bee climbed onto a flower of a rare variety of soul or calaminthes, after which it rubbed its head on top of the flower 2-3 times,” Kimmel said in a statement, according to Naples Daily News. “This behavior is unusual and is a unique characteristic of the blue bee: we were quite shocked by what we saw.
The blue bee or Osmia calaminthae, known for having unusual hairs on its head that it uses to collect pollen, wrote the museum staff. “A bee is considered particularly rare because it collects pollen with its hairs only from another species that is on the verge of extinction – a flowering plant known as Ashe’s calamint (a rare species of soul or calaminthae). “It’s a very localized bee,” said Kimmela’s chief, Jareth Daniels, director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the museum. More rare bees have been spotted since the first bee was discovered, but further research has become impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic. The flight season of bees lasts from mid-March to early May, which is considered the best time to find and observe live species of bees.
However, travel restrictions in the states were imposed at this time. The Florida Museum of Natural History claims that the bee was first described in 2011. It was only seen at 4 points on the Lake Wales Ridge before Kimmel saw it this year. “I was prepared for the possibility that we wouldn’t find the bee at all, so the first moment we noticed it in the field was very exciting,” the researcher admitted.