Researchers at Utah State University have discovered an astonishing diversity of native bees living within the original boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). A four-year study identified 660 different bee species including 49 new species.
Bees are important pollinators, but in many parts of the world insect populations are in decline due to pesticides, monoculture crops and conversion of undeveloped land.
The impact of insect loss cascades through the food chain. A press release on the bee study quotes entomologist Joseph Wilson: “[GSNEENM] is an amazing natural laboratory of pollinators, of which we don’t know a lot. The large reduction of this protected area could have implications for future biodiversity.”
The following genera are pictured: (A) Nomada, (B) Perdita, (C) Hylaeus, (D) Agapostemon, (E) Osmia, (F) Anthidium, and (G) Diadasia. Photos by Joseph S Wilson.