Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A new plasterer bee: Lonchopria heberti

Members of the bee family Colletidae are also called plasterer bees because of their way to smooth the walls of their nest cells with secretions which dry into a cellophane-like lining. The majority of the 2000 known species in this family live in South America and Australia. No surprise that this new species was found in Chile. 

The species is named after the inventor of DNA barcoding: Paul Hebert who happens to be my boss. The species had gone unnoticed until the authors used DNA barcoding and detected a deep genetic divergence between this species and Lonchopria similis, prompting the search for standard morphological differences and thereby speeding up species discovery.

For the experts: We compare the diversity of bees in the Chilean fauna as understood from traditional taxonomy-based catalogues with that currently known from DNA barcodes using the BIN system informed by ongoing morphology-based taxonomic research. While DNA barcode surveys of the Chilean bee fauna remain incomplete, it is clear that new species can readily be distinguished using this method and that morphological differentiation of distinct barcode clusters is sometimes very easy. We assess the situation in two genera in some detail. In Lonchopria Vachal one “species” is readily separable into two BINs that are easily differentiated based upon male mandibular and genitalic morphology (characters generally used in this group) as well as female hair patterns. Consequently, we describe Lonchopria (Lonchopria) heberti Packer and Ruz, new species. For Liphanthus Reed, a large number of new species has been detected using DNA barcoding and considerable additional traditional morphological work will be required to describe them. When we add the number of BINs (whether identified to named species or not) to the number of Chilean bee species that we know have not been barcoded (both described and new species under study in our laboratories) we conclude that the bee fauna of Chile is substantially greater than the 436 species currently known. 

No comments:

Post a Comment