Bees – they are the darlings of the insect world and with good reason, since they keep our planet alive.
But few of us know about the incredible number and diversity of Australian native bee species, which is why author and photographer James Dorey brings us his stunning new book, Bees of Australia: A Photographic Exploration (CSIRO Publishing).
Australia currently has more than 1600 described and named bee species – but there could be as many as 2000 or 3000. The author even discovered a new species while working on the book!
Each page features stunning macro photographs of bees, most taken during a three and a half month road trip around Australia by the author. The bee profiles are presented state-by-state (even though bees don’t always adhere to state lines) which makes it easier for the reader to search or identify species in their local area. There is even information on how to create a bee-friendly garden.
“Australia’s bees are an amazingly diverse, visually stunning and important group of animals. Each species comes with its own story,” notes James.
Discover why so many are all abuzz about bees!
- Bees are at the heart of our multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry, as 75% of our food crops rely on animal pollination.
- Only female bees will sting – they use a modified egg-laying appendage known as an ovipositor.
- Our traditional concept of a bee – the introduced European honeybee – is both friend and foe. While it is extremely efficient at pollinating crops, it has done the same for unwanted weeds and has disrupted the habitats of many of our native bees, birds and mammals.
- Rather than congregating in hives, many of our bees live alone or in small groups. Some live in hollow twigs and stems, while others burrow into the ground. Certain species of male bees like to roost and hang out on ‘bachelor pads’.
- Australia is also home to the world’s smallest bee, less than 2mm in length.
- Some male bees will fight to the death to mate with a female. When the males mate their genitals will lock into place and be left within the queen, which must then seek the help of her workers to remove them.
- Native bees face serious threats. Habitat loss, exotic species, climate change and pesticides are all impacting bee populations.
Bees of Australia: A Photographic Exploration by James Dorey $49.99 PB 288 pp ISBN: 9781486308491
Available from all good bookstores or order online.
About the Author:
James Dorey is undertaking a PhD on the evolution, taxonomy and ecology of Australian native bees at Flinders University and the South Australian Museum. His stunning macro photographs have been published in various books and magazines, and have been honoured in national and international photography competitions. He remains amazed at the hidden diversity of bees.