This Newly Discovered Bee Species Has A Very Unique Look
by Trisha Leigh
Bees have gotten a total marketing overhaul since humans realized how closely our survival is linked with theirs. People are starting to see how objectively adorable the little insects are, and how fascinating their small societies are, to boot.
This new species of bee looks a lot like a dog, which is both how it got its name – Leioproctus zephyr, after the discoverer’s dog – and why people are surely going to try to boop its snoot.
Dr. Kit Prendergast of Perth, Australia, was the author of the published study – and the discovery.
There are more than 300 species of Leioproctus across Australasia and South America, but the zephyr is special.
“Leioproctus zephyr has a highly restricted distribution, only occurring in seven locations across the southwest of Australia to date.”
The species is apparently super picky when it comes to eating, choosing to snack only on a few pieces of flowering Jacksonia shrubs.
Prendergast first noticed the bee’s unusual protruding snout, and after consulting with expert Dr. Terry Houston, found the species had not been scientifically described (though it was first collected in 1979).
Zephyr is distinct, as both sexes have a large medial ridge running down the center of the shield-shaped front of the bee’s head, one that protrudes prominently on the upper half.
The bee itself is small, measuring just 0.24-0.27 inches long.
Even though the bee was just formally identified, Prendergast and others believe it could be a conservation concern.
They offer the bee’s limited diet and rapid urbanization as reasons for worry.
I don’t know about you, but I say any bee that looks like a schnauzer should be protected at all costs.