In a survey of bee species conducted in Oklahoma on protected land called Four Canyon Preserve, two new bee species were discovered. They appear to be endemic to the southern Great Plains. Both are specialists collecting pollen from a narrow range of plants. One focuses on legumes and the other on Gaillardia (Asteraceae).
One is a species of Hesperapis, or Clarkia bee, and other is an Anthidium, a genus that includes mud or potter bees which make their nests out of various materials such as mud and resin. Most anthidiums are leaf cutters. They are fairly large bees.
Clarkia bees are found also in Arizona, New Mexico and California. They live in meadows and fields. Sometimes they are found in gardens with the plants they pollinate. Bees and plants have evolved together, meaning some plants require bees to pollinate them, and bees required the pollen and nectar to survive.
Flowering plants have lived on this planet for at least 150 million years. Bees have been pollinating them to keep them surviving for an extremely long time. Without flowering plants which produce fruits and vegetables, what food sources would there have been for mammals to use to evolve also? Without flowering plants and bees, would humans have evolved?
Bees and plants live in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship. Lately humans have been disrupting that relationship and damaging the bee population. If bees were to all die out, what would happen to the plants we used to produce food?
The discovery of two new bee species that are in good condition doesn’t sound that significant, but it is, “Honeybees pollinate 90% of the food crops on Earth. That places them as an integral player in the ongoing saga of human development.” (Source: Organicprinciple.com)
You could say humans evolved because of the enormous amount of work bees do to fertilize plants. They are sort of the flying gardeners of the planet.
Image Credit: Alvesgaspar / Wiki Commons
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