Finding Doreyi – James takes a bow, for a bee

Flinders University PhD graduate and Australian bee photographer James B Dorey has had a new bee species named after him.

With 1668 known species of bee in Australia, one of the newest bees described in a new paper recently has been given the name Chrysocolletes doreyi, to acknowledge Dr Dorey’s long-running contribution to Australian bee taxonomy.

The six new species, all discovered in Queensland’s tropical north, were named after the region they were found, their morphology (the dwarf Austrothurgus, the ivory Nomia, the bow-legged Chrysocolletes, and the golden Chrysocolletes), and their collector.

Dr Dorey, 29, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale University Center for Biodiversity and Global Change in the US, collected this specimen among many collected during his field trips in his home state of NSW and tropical Queensland, and is delighted by the epithet from his peers Remko Leijs from the South Australian Museum and Katja Hogendoorn from the University of Adelaide.

“The study highlights the importance of describing Australia’s native bees and biodiversity at large,” Dr Dorey says from the US. “Without a name, we cannot hope to conserve our unique and precious biodiversity.

“To make matters worse, many of Australia’s undescribed bees are likely to be rare or short-range endemics (found only in a small area) and hence might be more vulnerable to threatening processes such as habitat destruction, degradation, and climate change.”

Chrysocolletes doreyi sp. nov. (Colletidae), is described from Walker Creek, east of Karumba in Queensland’s Gulf Country.

The Austral Entomology paper is another in a growing list of quality bee research produced by cross-institutional South Australian collaborations that seek to describe and conserve Australia’s bee fauna, says Flinders University Associate Professor Mike Schwarz, who supervised Dr Dorey.

“Our biodiversity is like a huge library of species that we can read and learn from,” he says. “Sometimes those new species are named after particular people to honour their very special impacts in science and that is definitely the case with this new bee named after James Dorey.”

In a previously described new species, the eye-catching Homalictus groomi bee was named in honour of Flinders biological sciences graduate Dr Scott Groom, who began uncovering this hidden diversity using molecular techniques with Flinders University and the SA Museum in 2009.

The study was funded by a Bush Blitz Tactical Taxonomy Grant from the Australian Government through the Australian Biological Resources Study. Some of the field work was supported by Flinders University, the Holsworth Wildlife Fund, the Linnean Society of NSW, and the Playford Trust.

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