Bees Found Living Near Active Volcano, Feed On A Single Living Plant Species

First Posted: Aug 03, 2016 06:30 AM EDT

The Anthophora squammulosa bees have been discovered by a team of researchers who climbed  a volcano in Nicaragua. The tiny species of A. Squammulosa were just meters away from the opening of a volcano, where the vent continuously ejects ash and volcanic bombs as the magma relentlessly bubbles.

Pollination ecologist Hilary Erenler, who saw the bees' activities, lead a study with researchers and citizen scientists from around the globe to figure out just how many bees were present, Science Mag reported. She and her team have studied the dogged insects over the years and estimated that there are around 1,000 to 2,000 bees that are living on the barren slopes. The slopes is where the insects maintain a burrow around 30 centimeters deep, at the bottom of which is where they lay eggs.

The researchers also found that 99 percent of all pollen collected by the bees was from a single species of plant called Melanthera Nivea, which is in stark contrast to bees that live on other locations that feed on a wide variety of plants.  The plant is said to have the ability to withstand volcanic conditions, including acid rain.

This, still, does not explain why the bees have decided to live near the volcano. The researchers think that it is possibly related to the fact that few predators and parasites can survive living in the area, IFL Science reported. Also, the lack of plants may be an advantage to them as it means that they do not have to negotiate roots when constructing their burrow.

A.Squamulosa bees is a widespread species that are found right along the Central American seaboard. Despite being found across much of Central America, it is thought that they are on the brink of extinction due in part to habitat destruction. It is also believed that if their extreme habits are anything to go by, they may not be helping themselves much either.

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