Studying the diverse group of solitary, desert bees, researchers have reportedly identified 9 new species of the genus Perdita, including two ant-like males.
These solitary bees play an important role in the natural ecosystems of the American Southwest, including the sizzling sand dunes of California’s death valley.
Researchers have described the anti-like males of the two of the species, completely different in appearance from their mates.
These males have this unique form and the elusive bees have been tracked by watching for their buzzing shadows in the blinding, midday sunlight the diminutive insects tend to favour.
Activity during the hottest part of the day may avoid predators.
They are an important pollinator of desert plants known as Crinklemats
Crinklemats, flowering plants of the genus Tequila grow low to the ground and feature hairy leaves and small, trumpet shaped blue blossoms.
Scientists have reported that female bees use pollen collected from the flowers to build up a supply to nourish their young.
Once they have completed a pollen provision, the bees lay their eggs on the stash and leave their offspring to fend for themselves.
Numerous bee species remain as yet undiscovered.