ANNOUNCING AN EXPEDITION BLOG FEATURING TWO AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY SCIENTISTS
THE HUNT FOR NEW SPECIES OF SOCIAL WASPS IN BELIZE
If you're up for a vicarious adventure, check out the blog of James Carpenter, Curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, and Kurt Pickett, Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont and a Research Associate at the Museum. They are currently scouring Belize for social wasps, excited about the prospect of filling gaps in the scientific record and finding new species of the genus Polistes.
Social wasps and other social insects make up half of the world's insect biomass even they only comprise about 2 percent of the known insect species. Because of the pivotal role that social insects play in nearly every ecosystem, it is important to accurately assess their diversity. Hence, Carpenter and Pickett's current field expedition. "Belize has received relatively little study by hymenopterists, compared to neighboring countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. Recent collection [of bees] by the Museum has resulted in eight new records and six new species," wrote Carpenter just before leaving for Central America. This current expedition, taking place from April 20 to May 4, is expected to make similar progress in the collection of wasps. To see the team's progress, click here to access their blog.
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