LAKE WALES, Fla. (CBSMiami/CNN) — A rare blue bee scientists thought might have become extinct has been rediscovered in Florida.
The metallic navy insect, a blue calamintha bee, had only been previously found in four areas “totaling just 16 square miles of pine scrub habitat at Central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge,” the Florida Museum said in a news release.
The blue bee hasn’t been spotted since 2016 then the most recent sighting took place in early March.
Since then, more of the elusive bees have been found, but efforts to research the insect have been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
They’re hoping to learn more about the blue bee which is currently listed by Florida’s State Wildlife Action Plan as a species of greatest conservation need.
It’s a unique insect for a number of reasons, including how it collects pollen on its face with help from unusual facial hairs, it relies on a threatened flowering plant and is found primarily on Lake Wales Ridge, a habitat in central Florida and one of the nation’s fastest-disappearing ecosystems.
A solitary native bee, the blue calamintha does not live in a large colony. Each female builds a nest, and does not care for its young.
Researchers are now working on a two year project to learn more about the bee’s current population, nesting and feeding habits, none of which is currently known to scientists.
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