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New species of bee discovered in Vale de Guadiana park

beeA new species of bee and has been discovered by a Portuguese biologist in the Vale do Guadiana Natural Park.

Protosmia lusitanica, a small, black bee with an orange abdomen was discovered by Ana Gonçalves in the spring of 2016 on the banks of Ribeira do Vascão, in Mértola, while visiting the Alentejo region.

“I noticed that it was a species that I did not already have in my collection. I sent it to a specialist who is making a catalogue of the bees of Portugal and he realised that it was something special so sent it to another specialist who defined it as another species.”

An important finding, at a time when the future of bees is threatened. “Although we know they are in extinction, we still do not know them fully.,” says the biologist.

Ribeira do Vascão is rich in biodiversity but little is known about the insects that occupy the area.

This new bee was discovered by chance but Gonçalves is concerned that there is no support for conservation of this and other threatened species, “there is a great wealth of species that need conservation efforts and for that we need to know them.”