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For immediate release
March 23, 2009
Contacts:
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, The Xerces Society; 503-449-3792
Karl Magnacca, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Zoology; knm956@gmail.com

HAWAIIAN YELLOW-FACED BEES FACED WITH EXTINCTION

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Petitions Federal Government for Endangered Species Act Protection

Portland, OR - The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Although a scientist in the early 1900s called Hawaiian yellow-faced bees “almost the most ubiquitous of any Hawaiian insects,” surveys by biologist Karl Magnacca have demonstrated that that seven species – Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana —are in imminent danger of going extinct.

“There is no doubt that these species are in trouble,” said Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.  “Without immediate attention these species may not make it through the next decade.”

Despite their small size, these Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are extremely important. These bees are critical pollinators of many endangered native Hawaiian plants and the decline of these bees could lead to the extinction of endangered plants. Alternatively, protection of these pollinators could aid the recovery of these plants.

“Pollinators are keystone species in many ecosystems,” said Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Coordinator with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “But these Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are likely even more important since many Hawaiian native plant species are not well adapted to pollination by non-native pollinators.”

Hawaiian yellow-faced bees were historically found on all of the Hawaiian Islands and in a variety of habitats, including coasts, dry forests and shrublands, mesic and wet forests, and subalpine shrublands. All Hawaiian yellow-faced bees strongly depend on an intact community of native plants and are mostly absent from habitats dominated by non-native plant species.

Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are threatened by loss of habitat due to development (especially in coastal areas), fire, and the impact of feral ungulates such as pigs, predation by invasive ants, and the loss of native vegetation to invasive plant species. Conservation of these important pollinators will require the active management of natural areas where populations are known to exist.

Read more about Hawaiian yellow-faced bees >>

Petition to list Hylaeus anthracinus and Hylaeus longiceps as Endangered under the ESA >>
Petition to list Hylaeus assimulans as Endangered under the ESA >>
Petition to list Hylaeus facilis as Endangered under the ESA >>
Petition to list Hylaeus hilaris as Endangered under the ESA >>
Petition to list Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana as Endangered under the ESA >>

ABOUT THE XERCES SOCIETY
The Xerces Society is an international, nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For over three decades, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate conservation, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.

PHOTO CREDIT
Hawaiian yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus sp.) on ohia by Karl Magnacca.

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