India has a rich bee fauna of more than 700 described species and many more in need of description. The impressive number of species described reflects a long history of taxonomic research including historical work by British hymenopterists such as Smith, Bingham, Cameron, Nurse, and Cockerell and subsequent research by Indian workers such as R.K. Gupta and colleagues. Although species totals are impressive for many bee taxa, a large proportion of described species are poorly known and require further revisionary taxonomic study and documentation of type material (as yet poorly documented, with even country of type repository unclear for many taxa).
This biodiversity portal for Indian bees is intended to share reliable, updated information about the taxonomy and distribution of Indian bees to improve reliability and efficiency of melittological research across the subcontinent. In particular, we intend to establish a more reliable and accessible baseline for sharing precise and accurate taxonomic information (e.g., subgeneric placements), type localities and other verified distributional records, and image of selected taxa as these become available. In particular, the portal is intended to compile and share basic data on Indian bee diversity pertinent to assembly of integrative taxonomic resources (including DNA barcode libraries) and to status assessments of both agricultural pollinators of economic importance and endemic species of conservation concern. An initial goal is to share basic taxonomic and distributional data, but we wish to expand this content to include diagnostics and life history information as this becomes available. We intend for the portal to promote exchange of information between Indian and international collections, databases, and citizen science communities. In collaboration with other Asian and global initiatives on bee diversity we hope to fill some key knowledge gaps so as to permit the first comprehensive assessments of pollinators.