Last week the Israeli bee taxonomist Achik Dorchin published a new paper entitled “Taxonomic revision of the aequata-group of the subgenus Eucera s. str (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Eucerini)” . The paper focuses on a little-known group of “longhorn” bees from the Eastern Mediterranean region, a part of the world with an extraordinarily high bee diversity. In this taxonomic account, Achik has named two bees new to science in honour of two pollination biologists:
Eucera dafnii is named by Achik for Prof. Amots Dafni, whom he describes as his “teacher and friend…a pioneer pollination ecologist of the Mediterranean region, who has led the research project during which much of the type series was discovered”. Amots is almost legendary in the field, he’s been conducting research on the flora, fauna, and pollination ecology of the region since the late 1960s, and remains a productive and influential scientist.
Eucera wattsi is named in honour of Dr Stella Watts, “a talented pollination ecologist, who collected much of the type series and contributed important floral observation and palynological data for this study”. Stella completed her PhD at the University of Northampton in 2008, with a thesis on “Plant-flower visitor interactions in the Sacred Valley of Peru”, and then went on to do a post doc with Amots in Israel.
It’s fitting that these bees are named in their honour: congratulations Amots and Stella!