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Bushfires pushed 11 bee species towards extinction in Australia

WION Web Team
Canberra  Updated: Oct 03, 2021, 01:25 AM IST

A swarm of bees (representative image). Photograph:(Reuters)

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The 2019–20 bushfires had a devastating impact on 11 species of native Australian bees. The scientists in Australia have analysed the effect of the fires on 553 native bee species. Before the fires, only three species of bees were threatened

According to new research, the 2019–20 bushfires had a devastating impact on 11 species of native Australian bees.

The scientists in Australia have analysed the effect of the fires on 553 native bee species. Almost one-third of all species of bees discovered in the country to date.  

In the analysis, 11 species are found to be eligible to get listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species.  

Before the fires, only three Australian species of bees were threatened.  

Two bee species, Leioproctus nigrofulvus or the solitary bee and Leioproctus carinatifrons, now fit the IUCN’s criteria for an endangered listing. During the bushfires, large areas of their native habitat were burnt. Nine bee species were assessed to be “vulnerable”.  

Using publicly available data, the researchers modelled the bees’ extinction risk from the wildfires.   

An adjunct lecturer at the University of Adelaide, study co-author Stefan Caddy-Retalic, said it was surprising that a single fire event pushed 11 species of bees much closer to extinction.  

Although there are 1,654 known bee species in Australia, the scientists believe the real figure may be more.  

“There are so many native bees that are still left to discover – a lot of these species are at risk of being lost before they’re even found, which is an incredible indictment on the impact that we’re having on Australia’s biodiversity,” Caddy-Retalic said.  

(With inputs from agencies)