Cockerell’s Bumblebee: Rare Bumblebee Species Found Living in the US (Photo)

By on Dec 7, 2011 in Archaelogy, Science, United States, World Comments
Cockerell's bumblebee
Cockerell’s bumblebee
Image Credit: G. Ballmer/UC Riverside

Cockerell’s bumblebee, a rare bee species, was rediscovered by scientists living in the White Mountains of South Central New Mexico, according to reports by several international news sites on Tuesday, December 6, 2011. The rare bumblebee was first discovered in 1913.

Douglas Yanega, a senior museum scientist at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), said that “When an insect species is very rare, or highly localized, it can fairly easily escape detection for very long periods of time.”

Since its first discovery in 1913, about 23 specimens of Cockerell’s bumblebee were collected over the years in the area of river Rio Ruidoso in the Sierra Blanca and Sacramento Mountains and Cloudcroft, all located in New Mexico. The last recorded Cockerell’s bumblebee sample was collected in 1956.

According to scientists, the habitat of Cockerell’s bumblebee is rarely visited by entomologists. Yanega explained that Cockerell’s bumblebee “long been ignored because it was thought that it was not actually a genuine species, but only a regional color variant of another well-known species.”

Scientists clarified that Cockerell’s bumblebee is not yet facing extinction since they live in an area composed of national forest and apache tribal land.

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