Many of America’s bees are in big trouble. But for most of the country’s bee species, researchers have too little information to know anything about their populations.
In a new report, scientists meticulously studied more than 5,100 bees in the Perdita genus, a big group of physically tiny desert bees. By going through thousands of specimens held in numerous museum collections, and others gathered more recently, they identified nine bee species for the first time.
According to lead author Zach Portman, these particular bees are helpful in stabilizing dune ecosystems. But the study sheds light on bees more generally by helping researchers understand how specialized bees have adapted to rely on certain plants—information that’s extremely important for conservationists.
Watch the video above to see the bees the researchers identified for the first time, and the beautiful features that make them unique.