Updates to the checklist of the wild bee fauna of Luxembourg as inferred from revised natural history collection data and fieldwork

Biodivers Data J. 2021 May 14;9:e64027. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.9.e64027. eCollection 2021.


Background: Museums and other institutions curating natural history collections (NHCs) are fundamental entities to many scientific disciplines, as they house data and reference material for varied research projects. As such, biological specimens preserved in NHCs represent accessible physical records of the living world's history. They provide useful information regarding the presence and distribution of different taxonomic groups through space and time. Despite the importance of biological museum specimens, their potential to answer scientific questions, pertinent to the necessities of our current historical context, is often under-explored.The currently-known wild bee fauna of Luxembourg comprises 341 registered species distributed amongst 38 different genera. However, specimens stored in the archives of local NHCs represent an untapped resource to update taxonomic lists, including potentially overlooked findings relevant to the development of national conservation strategies.

New information: We re-investigated the wild bee collection of the Zoology Department of the National Museum of Natural History Luxembourg by using morphotaxonomy and DNA barcoding. The collection revision led to the discovery of four species so far not described for the country: Andrena lagopus (Latreille, 1809), Nomada furva (Panzer, 1798), Hoplitis papaveris (Latreille, 1799) and Sphecodes majalis (Pérez, 1903). Additionally, the presence of Nomada sexfasciata (Panzer, 1799), which inexplicably had been omitted by the most current species list, can be re-confirmed. Altogether, our findings increase the number of recorded wild bee species in Luxembourg to 346. Moreover, the results highlight the crucial role of NHCs as repositories of our knowledge of the natural world.

Keywords: Apoidea; Benelux; DNA barcodes; biological collections; taxonomy.

Grant support

Financial support was received under the Bauer and Stemmler foundations program “FORSCHUNGSGEIST! Next Generation Sequencing in der Oekosystemforschung”.