Meet Zephyr, the native bee!
Native bees are one of our most important pollinators and a new species has recently been scientifically described through Curtin University-led research.
Dr Kit Prendergast from the Curtin School of Molecular and Life Sciences, has named the new species Leioproctus zephyr after her dog Zephyr after noticing that this little bee has a dog-like snout.
“Zephyr provided emotional support during my PhD,” Dr Prendergast explained.
“When I first examined the specimens I collected during my PhD surveys discovering the biodiversity of native bees in urbanised regions of WA’s southwest biodiversity hotspot, I was instantly intrigued by this bee’s very unusual face,” Dr Prendergast said.
“In perusing the WA Museum’s Entomology collection, I discovered that a few specimens of Leioproctus zephyr had been collected in 1979, but it had never been scientifically described.
“The rare and remarkable finding adds to existing knowledge about our evolving biodiversity and will help to ensure Leioproctus zephyr bees are protected by conservation efforts,” she said.
Dr Kit Prendergast is a native bee ecologist and science communicator. Her PhD involved investigating the impact of honeybees on native bees and pollination networks , and the impact of urbanisation on native bees. Her research on the newly classified bee species has been published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research.