Survey of the Bee Genus Andrena (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae) in the Trans Pecos Region with an Assessment of Biogeography and Discovery of Isolated Sky Island Species



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The genus Andrena (Andrenidae) is a species rich group of ground nesting solitary bees containing ~1,500 species worldwide and with many species left to be discovered. There are about 500 species of Andrena in the United States. Sky Islands are high elevation mountain areas that have distinctly different vegetation and climates compared to the low elevations below them. Throughout the Southwestern United States and the inland areas of North to Central Mexico there are many of these high elevation Sky Island mountains scattered throughout vast stretches of low elevation desert environments. However, the melittofauna from these mountain areas are still poorly known. During this study, a total of 29 species of Andrena were found to occur within Brewster, Presidio, and Jeff Davis counties of West Texas. A key to all species male and female was created to assist future collection identification of species from these counties. The biogeography of all species was assessed within the study area to determine what biogeographical category they fit into. Six biogeographical categories were created to represent different environments of West Texas study area. Additionally, six species of Andrena were discovered to be isolated to Sky Island environments. Evidence for what is keeping these species isolated to these Sky Islands, as well as how these species became isolated, is addressed. This research has opened many potential future research opportunities including species origins, diversification, genetics/gene flow between populations, and implications of climate change on these Sky Island environments.



Biology, Entomology