Five new species of cuckoo bees identified from the Cape Verde Islands
A male (above) and female (below) of Thyreus denolii, one of the new species discovered. Image credit: Jakub Straka and Michael
The biota of island archipelagos is of considerable interest to biologists. These isolated areas often act as 'evolutionary laboratories', spawning biological diversity rapidly and permitting many mechanisms to be observed and studied over relatively short periods of time. Such islands are often the places of new discoveries, including the documentation of new species.
The Republic of Cape Verde comprises 10 inhabited islands about 570 kilometers off the coast of West Africa and have been known since at least 1456. Although the bee fauna of the islands was thought to be moderately well known, research by Jakub Straka of Charles University in Prague and Michael S. Engel of the KU Biodiversity Institute have shown that this is not the case. A recent study published in the open access journal ZooKeys documents the cuckoo bee fauna of the islands, revealing that their entire fauna of cuckoo bee species is in fact new to science.