How did a tiny bee get to French Polynesia? Eight new species help solve a scientific mystery
Scientists discovered eight new species of masked bee in Fiji, Micronesia, and Polynesia: relatives of Tuamotu’s masked bee from Tuamotu. For 59 years, this bee had been considered by experts to be a mysterious anomaly since its closest relatives, as far as was known at the time, lived 3,000 km further west. With the new species, discovered by sampling from the tree canopy, the mystery is solved: ancestors of Tuamotu’s masked bee reached Polynesia by island-hopping across Fiji and the southwestern Pacific. Many more new species are expected to be discovered in the canopy of islands along this route soon.