Nav: Home

One of 8 new endemic polyester bees from Chile bears the name of a draconic Pokemon

June 01, 2016

Among the eight new bee species that Spencer K. Monckton has discovered as part of his Biology Master's degree at York University, there is one named after a popular draconic creature from the Japanese franchise Pokémon. Called the stem-nesting Charizard, the new insect belongs to a subgenus, whose 17 species are apparently endemic to Chile, yet occupy a huge variety of habitats.

The young scientist, who is currently a PhD student at the University of Guelph, studying sawfly systematics and phylogeography, has his work published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Known as polyester bees, the family to which the new species belong is characterized by the curious secretions these bees produce. Once applied to the walls of their nest cells, the secretion dries into a smooth, cellophane-like lining.

The new bee species are endemic to Chile, yet they occupy a huge variety of habitats ranging from the hyper-arid Atacama Desert in the north, to moist forests of monkey puzzle trees in the south, spanning elevations from the Pacific coast to more than 3200 metres above sea level. All of them are also solitary and nest in hollow plant stems.

Although the new bee species might lack the fiery breath of the dragon-like Pokémon, much like its namesake, it is normally found around mountains. Also, like the fictional species, the new bee has a distinctively long, snout-like face and broad hind legs, with antennae in place of horns.

However, the stem-nesting Charizard bee, as well as the other new species, are tiny creatures that measure between 4 and 7 mm in length. Unlike the predominantly orange colouration of the Pokémon, both males and females are mostly dark brown to black, patterned with variable yellow markings.

Yet, sometimes these yellow markings can turn orange when specimens are preserved, as was the case for the first specimen that Spencer Monckton observed of this species, which, he says, "cemented the comparison".

In his research paper Spencer Monckton not only describes eight new endemic polyester bees, but he also provides thoroughly illustrated keys for identification of both the males and females of each of the species.
-end-
Original source:



Monckton SK (2016) A revision of Chilicola (Heteroediscelis), a subgenus of xeromelissine bees (Hymenoptera, Colletidae) endemic to Chile: taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography, with descriptions of eight new species. ZooKeys 591: 1-144. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.591.7731

Pensoft Publishers

Related Species Articles:

A new species of spider
During a research stay in the highlands of Colombia conducted as part of her doctorate, Charlotte Hopfe, PhD student at the University of Bayreuth, has discovered and zoologically described a new species of spider.
Two new species of parasite discovered in crabs -- discovery will help prevent infection of other marine species
Two new species of parasite, previously unknown to science, have been discovered in crabs in Swansea Bay, Wales, during a study on disease in the Celtic and Irish Seas.
Marine species are outpacing terrestrial species in the race against global warming
Global warming is causing species to search for more temperate environments in which to migrate to, but it is marine species -- according to the latest results of a Franco-American study mainly involving scientists from the CNRS, Ifremer, the Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier and the University of Picardy Jules Verne -- that are leading the way by moving up to six times faster towards the poles than their terrestrial congeners.
Directed species loss from species-rich forests strongly decreases productivity
At high species richness, directed loss, but not random loss, of tree species strongly decreases forest productivity.
What is an endangered species?
What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.
One species, many origins
In a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, a group of researchers argue that our evolutionary past must be understood as the outcome of dynamic changes in connectivity, or gene flow, between early humans scattered across Africa.
Species on the move
A total of 55 animal species in the UK have been displaced from their natural ranges or enabled to arrive for the first time on UK shores because of climate change over the last 10 years (2008-2018) -- as revealed in a new study published today by scientists at international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London).
Chasing species' 'intactness'
In an effort to better protect the world's last ecologically intact ecosystems, researchers developed a new metric called 'The Last of the Wild in Each Ecoregion' (LWE), which aimed to quantify the most intact parts of each ecoregion.
How do species adapt to their surroundings?
Several fish species can change sex as needed. Other species adapt to their surroundings by living long lives -- or by living shorter lives and having lots of offspring.
Five new frog species from Madagascar
Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich and the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology have named five new species of frogs found across the island of Madagascar.
More Species News and Species Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.