A species of bee from Florida that scientists thought might no longer exist was rediscovered this spring, the Florida Museum of Natural History said.
Before then, the blue calamintha bee had not been observed since 2016.
“I was open to the possibility that we may not find the bee at all so that first moment when we spotted it in the field was really exciting,” researcher Chase Kimmel said.
The “metallic navy” insects are known as solitary bees, according to the museum. They fashion their own nests rather than congregating in hives.
Before this year’s rediscovery, sightings of this type of bee had only been recorded in four different spots, all within a 16-mile radius in the Lake Wales Ridge of Central Florida.
The latest observation of the insect is considered an important finding that will allow scientists to learn more about the species and help them to preserve it.
“We’re trying to fill in a lot of gaps that were not previously known,” Kimmel said. “It shows how little we know about the insect community and how there’s a lot of neat discoveries that can still occur.”