Join the Friends of Haleakala National Park on Thursday January 29th to hear the latest buzz about Hylaeus, the native Hawaiian bee species. Panelists Karl Magnacca and Raina Kaholoa'a will discuss the significance of Haleakala as a refuge for our endemic pollinators and explain the challenges posed by new invasive species. Their presentation is at 7:00 pm in the Hannibal Tavares Community Center pool-side Multi-Purpose Room and is free and open to the public.
Karl Magnacca received his Ph.D. in insect systematics in 2005 from Cornell University, based on his study of the evolution of the Hawaiian native Hylaeus yellow-faced bees.
Raina Kaholoa'a works as a biologist for Haleakala National Park, where she monitors native and non-native bee populations.
Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are extraordinary examples of evolutionary radiation, believed to have descended from a single female that arrived in the ancient archipelago millions of years ago. The resulting more than 60 distinct Hylaeus species serve as important pollinators in native ecosystems but have received scant attention in conservation studies.
"Most people, and even many scientists, don't realize that we have a huge diversity of native bees in Hawaii - 62 species from the Big Island to Nihoa," says Karl Magnacca, who studies Hawaiian bees. "Some of the rarest ones live down on the coast, and people would see them every day on the beach if the native plants were still there."
Although a scientist in the early 1900s called Hawaiian yellow-faced bees "almost the most ubiquitous of any Hawaiian insects," Magnacca has demonstrated that seven species - Hylaeus anthracinus, H. longiceps, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, H. kuakea and H.mana -are in imminent danger of going extinct.