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A Quarter of Known Bee Species Haven’t Been Seen Since 1990

Published: February 1, 2021 | Print Friendly and PDF

Source: Wired

The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines.

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Researchers analyzed bee records from museums, universities and citizen scientists collated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, (GBIF) a global, government-funded network providing open-access data on biodiversity.

They found a steep decline in bee species being recorded since 1990, with approximately 25 percent fewer species reported between 2006 and 2015 than before the 1990s.

Although this does not mean these species are extinct, it may indicate that some have become so scarce that they are no longer regularly observed in the wild.

“With citizen science and the ability to share data, records are going up exponentially, but the number of species reported in these records is going down,” said Eduardo Zattara, the lead author and a biologist from the Universidad Nacional del Comahue and Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council. “It’s not a bee cataclysm yet, but what we can say is that wild bees are not exactly thriving.”

A separate series of scientific studies into global insect declines this month warned that the abundance of insects was falling by 10 to 20 percent each decade, an “absolutely frightening” loss that threatened to “tear apart the tapestry of life”.


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