Blue Calamintha bee, thought to be extinct, is rediscovered in Florida

Hyperaxion May 31, 2020 7:53 pm

A type blue bee recently reappeared in Florida, in the United States, after being last seen in 2016. The species is new and extremely rare.

Scientists were convinced that the blue calamintha bee (Osmia calaminthae) went extinct shortly after its discovery, but new sightings contradict this theory and give hope that the species can recover.

Blue Calamintha bee, thought to be extinct, is rediscovered in Florida
(Credit: Florida Museum / Chase Kimmel).

These extremely rare blue bees are usually solitary and have a very selective diet, feeding only on Clinopodium ashei, an endangered magnolia species found only in Florida.

When it was discovered in 2011, several petitions were made in an attempt to protect its threatened natural habitat. Recently, Chase Kimmel, from the Florida Museum of Natural History, visited an area previously inhabited by this insect, but without high expectations of finding the species.

(Credit: Florida Museum / Chase Kimmel).

“I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” said the scientist in a statement. While visiting flowers, the bee was bobbing its head to accumulate pollen, a characteristic behavior of this species.

Now, the Florida Museum of Natural History will conduct a two-year investigation in the Lake Wales Ridge region to find out more about this rare creature. The goal is that, over the next year, the team will be able to map the places where the species can be found.

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