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UC Riverside scientists find rarest bumblebee in United States

'Cockerell's Bumblebee' was last seen in 1956 in the White Mountains of New Mexico. (UCR)

December 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The rarest species of bumblebee in the U.S. was recently discovered by University of California-Riverside scientists, the university announced Monday.

"Cockerell's Bumblebee" was last seen in 1956 in the White Mountains of New Mexico. Three of the bees were collected on weeds on a roadside north of Cloudcroft, N.M., on Aug. 31, 2011.

The bumblebee was first described in 1913, according to researchers.

There are nearly 50 species of native U.S. bumblebees, including a few on the verge of extinction, according to UCR scientists.

Insect species have been rediscovered after decades despite being thought extinct, said Douglas Yanega, senior museum scientist at UC Riverside.

Several dozen species are discovered or rediscovered every year by UCR entomologists, according to the university. Most of those are bees, wasps, beetles and plant bugs.


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