Researchers discover new cuckoo bee in Kerala 

Thyreus narendrani, named after the late T.C. Narendran, Professor of Zoology, was collected from a kole wetland ecosystem in Malappuram district and the Christ College campus at Irinjalakuda

February 15, 2023 08:08 pm | Updated 08:08 pm IST - Thrissur

New species of cuckoo bee discovered from Thrissur and Malappuram districts.

New species of cuckoo bee discovered from Thrissur and Malappuram districts. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A new species of cuckoo bee, Thyreus narendrani, has been discovered in the State. Researchers of Shadpada Entomology Research Lab (SERL), Christ College (Autonomous), Irinjalakuda, and Government College, Kodenchery are behind this discovery.

The new species is named after late T.C. Narendran, Professor of Zoology, in honour of his expertise and excellence in the field of entomology. The new species was collected from the kole wetland ecosystem of Srayilkadavu, Malappuram district and Christ College campus. Kole wetlands are unique and productive ecosystems located in Thrissur and Malappuram districts and were declared as Ramsar sites in 2002. Doctoral scholar Anju Sara Prakash; research supervisor Bijoy C., Assistant Professor of Christ College, Irinjalakuda; and Jobiraj T., Assistant Professor of Government College, Kodenchery, were behind this discovery.

Bees are known for their role as excellent pollinators. They are responsible for the pollination of many food crops as well as natural vegetation. So, conservation of bees is very important for the survival of other organisms, noted the researchers.

As parasites

“The new species belongs to the family Apidae of order Hymenoptera. The genus Thyreus consists of cuckoo bees or cleptoparasitic bees. Cuckoo bees parasitise the nest of other bees by breaking and entering and laying their eggs. Unlike other female bees, cuckoo bees lack pollen-collecting structures. Once the cuckoo bee’s larva hatches out in the nest of the host bee, it consumes the food stored by the host for its own growing larva.

Bees of genus Thyreus mostly parasitise solitary bees of genus Amegilla and Anthophora, according to research supervisor Dr. Bijoy.

The findings are published online in the recent issue of the international journal Oriental Insects. The research was conducted with financial assistance from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi.

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