Genome sequencing reveals new bumblebee species

The newly discovered Bombus incognitus looks just like another species, Bombus sylvicola.
Credit: Jennifer Geib

Researchers recently discovered a new species of bumblebee in the Rocky Mountains while studying genetic diversity of bumblebees in the area. The team was collecting hundreds of bee samples and sequencing their genomes when they found a genetically distinct species that hadn’t been discovered before. They named in Bombus incognitus. The team then compared the newly discovered species to Bombus sylvicola, another species that looks just like the newly named species. Comparing the genomes helped them determine how Bombus incognetus formed. The results suggest that there may be more bumblebee species in the region than previously thought and that the environment there is conducive to speciation.

Read the study in Molecular Biology and Evolution.