Updated: Jan 2, 2019
The native burrowing bee genus Leioproctus is a large genus, part of the family Colletidae which comprises around half of all named Australian bees.
In this paper led by Remko Leijs, a taxonomist at the South Australian Museum, the subgenus Colletellus is revised. Previously considered to have only one species, the paper describes 26 new ones! This is not at all uncommon in entomology, where many genera and families are very poorly known. Most species in the subgenus occur in Western Australia.
There are an estimated 2000 species of native bee in Australia, but many of these have not yet been formally named and described. This paper takes another step towards a more complete understanding of Australian native bees.
Many of the new species were collected during Bush Blitz expeditions, a collaborative program between the Australian Biological Resources Study and Australian museums and herbaria. Since the Bush Blitz program began in 2010, its taxonomists have discovered more than 1600 new species and have added thousands of species records to what is already known, increasing our scientific knowledge to help us protect our biodiversity for generations to come.