Two bee species discovered near Las Vegas

LOGAN, Utah -- Utah State University scientists are buzzing over the recent discovery of two unique bee species.

Biologist and postdoctoral fellow David Tanner discovered the insects in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Tanner and two graduate students were collecting data for a study on the relationship between pollinators and rare desert plants when they stumbled on the discovery.

Both of the new species are distinct forms of the genus Perdita, Tanner said. The species have not yet been named .

A lab operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Logan has confirmed the find.

Discovering the species was a thrill that Tanner said "made him feel like a child again."

The discovery wasn't completely unexpected. Desert areas such as Ash Meadows have some of the greatest biodiversity of bees in the world, Tanner said.

The correlation isn't fully understood by scientists but could be related to the dry desert soils, Tanner said. He said the refuge could hold other unknown species.