FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Five years ago, a new species of bumblebee was discovered in Denali National Park - something that hadn't happened in more than a century.
Entomologist at Denali National Park, Jessica Rykken, was the one who discovered the new species while out surveying bee pollinators.
Her study of bees ranges from larger species to smaller solitary nesting bees. Her survey work was housed in the labs at the UA Museum of the North, but not before being taken to a specialist in New England.
They confirmed that the bee species was a new discovery, with a slightly unusual body shape and hair length.
Curator of insects at the Museum of the North, Derek Sikes, explained why the new bumblebee species is special to the UA Museum.
Derek Sikes; Professor of Entomology; UA Museum of the North>>"Were making assumptions based on other information like DNA and morphology and if the differences are large enough then it seems like a safe assumption that, that these bees are different. The main morphological difference had to do with the length of the cheek on the face. Not something that can easily be seen with the naked eye. You would have to have the bees under a microscope and measure them very carefully to identify them as different. This new species of bees isn't something that people would be able to easily detect just wandering around looking at bees in the wild."