Bee Species Discovered in Israel’s Coastal Plains

YERUSHALAYIM -
A swarm of honey bees is visible in a tree. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Israeli researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown bee species they believe is unique to the country’s coastal plains.

The species was identified and described by Dr. Alain Pauly, a taxonomist from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. The scientific name for the creature will be Lasioglossum dorchini, in honor of the Israeli bee expert Dr. Achik Dorchin, of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University, according to Arutz Sheva on Thursday.

“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,” said Professor Yael Mandelik of the Department of Entomology in the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University.

The discovery was made during research into the worldwide decline in bee populations. The Israeli study focused on the impact of restoration activities of a threatened sand ecosystem along Israel’s coastal plains. Large-scale Eucalyptus plantings that took place in this region in the last decade caused dramatic changes in habitat characteristics and decreased local biodiversity.

Over the past five years, the scientists have been studying the effect of these restoration activities and specifically how they affect the local bee population.

The results are encouraging. “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,” said Hebrew U. PhD candidate Karmit Levy.