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York University researcher identifies 20,000th bee species 2013-09-13

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21 new specied of bee

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An article published this month by York University researcher Sheila Dumesh describes 21 new kinds of bees, pushing the world’s total known bee species past the 20,000 mark. The article, “Revision of the rare Mesoamerican bee genus Mexalictus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) with the description of 21 new species”, published in the journal Zootaxa, identifies the bees as belonging to the genus Mexalictus, which are mostly found in cloud forests and other damp habitats at high altitudes from southern Arizona to Panama. “Most of them are very rare – known from only a handful of specimens or less, sometimes only one,” says Dumesh. “Because their habitats are often imperilled from deforestation and climate change, finding them before they become extinct is a race against time.”

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