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Rare bee sighted in Denmark following an absence of 50 years

Loïc Padovani
February 1st, 2023


This article is more than 1 year old.

It’s been called “a minor sensation” by the Naturstyrelsen nature agency.

For the first time in more than 50 years, two specimens of the vulsed mask bee – which gets its name because of a bulge (tumor) around the chest – have been found in the wilds in Denmark.

The rare insect was found in Gribskov, one of the largest forests in the country, which is located in northern Zealand. It was last sighted in 1971.

Part of a mapping project
“I walked in an area that consisted mostly of shaded forest. There were quite a few masquerade bees of different sizes around the flowers, and I collected a handful of them,” explained biologist Hjalte Kjærby about the find.

“One of them turned out to be the vulsed mask bee – it was a great surprise!”

Kjærby is one of a group of biologists who six months ago embarked on a mission to map 20 forests for Naturstyrelsen.

Testament to their effort
The find is testament to Naturstyrelsen’s hard work to restore biodiversity in Denmark’s forests. Efforts have included the construction of ditches and the mission has already uncovered a primeval forest in the Stenderup forests near Kolding.

“The vast majority of state forests were planted with production in mind,” commented Jens Bjerregaard Christensen, a Naturstyrelsen forester.

“For the past few years, they have drifted in a more natural direction, and the discovery of the rare vulsed masquerade bee in Gribskov testifies to the fact that in many places a good starting point has been created for several rare and endangered species.”


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