Bee biodiversity barometer in Fiji ̵
1; New species described as environmental change
Fiji's biodiversity lives and is good, but climate change, harmful weeds and diverse human activities make extinction possible.
Just as Australian researchers find colorful new bee species, some show signs of environmental change.
Flinders University PhD student James Dorey has captured some of the latest bee species in Fiji with his macro photography. Researchers have the opportunity to highlight the risks by mentioning nine new species.
"Homalictus terminalis has been named to reach its limits, like many Fiji bees, threatened by climate-related extinction. "He says." Only found on Mount Batilamu near the town of Nadi, where many tourists start their holidays, H. terminalis was found only 95 meters from the top of the mountain.
South Australian University students from the Australian Government's New Colombo Study Program have been traveling to Fiji in the Southwest Pacific for several years and have named nine new species in Zootaxa in one of their most recent research publications.
The impressive black Homalictus achrostus with its unusually large mandibles is one of the most interesting endemic bee species in Fiji.
But how many Fijian bees have H. achrostus ever found on a single mountain peak?
"Six people were collected in the 1970s and two in 2010 on Mount Nadarivatu, but despite frequent searches almost every year since none were found," says Mike Schwarz, associate Professor of Flinders University, a co-author of the newspaper.
"A probable driver of this potential extinction is changing the climate," says Associate Professor Schwarz.
"The cooler climate in the Fijian highlands could be slowly pushed up and up by the mountains that bring with them the species that need this climatic refuge.
"With H. achrostus, one of the four previously described endemic bee species in Fiji, this raises real concerns over the extinction of many highland species in Fiji and beyond to all the tropics. "
Dr. Mark Stevens, chief researcher for terrestrial invertebrates at the South Australia Museum, says the bee genus Homalictus Cockerell has not been taxonomically studied. "These excursions have allowed us to rewrite four known species and describe nine new ones, indicating the number of endemic Homalictus increased in Fiji in 13 ways, "says Dr. Stevens working together on the study.
"The largest part of the biodiversity (11 species) lives 800 meters or more above sea level, underscoring the susceptibility of highlands restricted species to a warming climate."
One of the new species that became conspicuous Homalictus groomi in honor of the Flinders graduate of the life sciences, dr. Scott Groom, named in 2009, began discovering this hidden diversity through molecular techniques at Flinders University and the South Australian Museum. Traveling has also examined the effects of harmful weeds and human activity on other animals and plants in Fiji.