New Species of Leafcutter Bee Discovered in Texas

Posted on April 4, 2013

Megachile chomskyi

A new species of leafcutter bees, Megachile chomskyi, has been discovered in Texas. The genus Megachile is a cosmopolitan group of solitary bees, often called leafcutter bees. It is one of the largest genera of bees, with well over 1,500 species in over 50 subgenera. A male Megachile chomskyi is pictured above.

The M. chomskyi bees have elongate tongues like other Megachiloides. These species of bees cut circular pieces out of leaves and petals for nest construction. The research paper does not describe the exact nest construction for M. chomskyi, but other Megachile bees make nests within hollow twigs or excavate burrows in the ground.

The new species is named after Professor Noam Chomsky, Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research was published here in ZooKeys.

Dr, Cory Sheffield, the author of the study, said in a statement, "In addition to naming the species after Dr. Chomsky to honour his many accomplishments, I also have been a huge fan and follower of his writings, lectures, and political views for a long time."

Photo: Cory S. Sheffield (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

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