Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #440725

Research Project: Mojave Poppy Bee (Perdita Meconis) Range-Wide Population, Habitat, And Ecological Status Surveys, 2022-2024

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-019-051-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 6, 2022
End Date: Jan 31, 2025

(1) Collate existing data to identify and define populations based on historic occurrence records, host plant distributions, barriers, and project work as well as achieve the objectives below. (2) Document detection (presence) or lack of detection (potential absence) at Mojave poppy bee population locations and other potential habitat areas. (3) Describe habitat conditions at population locations as practical and feasible (area, host plant status [e.g., species, phenology, patch size, and density], stressors or the lack thereof). (4) Describe life history requirements and characteristics of Mojave poppy bees (e.g., reproduction, nesting behavior, nesting soils, movements or dispersal, diapause, competitors, predators, parasites, disease, host plants, etc.) to the extent possible and as they may inform an understanding of what influences Mojave poppy bee individuals and populations. (5) Provide recommendations to address threats to the Mojave poppy bee or its habitat at each population location. (6) Search for new populations in prospective habitat areas. (7) Collaborate and as feasible collect samples in collaboration with USGS investigating to develop eDNA methodologies to detect pollinators and utilize these techniques if it is determined they are practical. (8) Describe characteristics of each population and any assumptions, inferences, or hypothesis to estimate or determine them as well as uncertainties (e.g., occupancy, distribution within habitat, numbers, relative abundance, natural or unnatural fragmentation, potential for source or sink dynamics, metapopulation dynamics, etc...).

The focus of this project is to survey for the Mojave poppy bee (Perdita meconis) and its habitat throughout its range, collect additional life history information, and assess stressors or threats that may influence populations. Information on the Mojave poppy bee, and its host plants will be collated to plan and implement project procedures and tasks to achieve project objectives. Survey work will be designed and implemented to maximize the likelihood for documentation of presence. Historic locations (Table 1) that have not been visited for the longest time or are of a most unknown status will be the highest priority. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will be responsible for obtaining any necessary permits, permissions, and meeting all legal or reporting requirements to complete the work. ARS will be responsible for project coordination with state, federal, county, and other partners or land managers as necessary. Adjustments to survey work, methods, and deliverables may be made as necessary and as agreed to by the ARS’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Technical Point of Contacts. Work will be performed as feasible in 2022. The Mojave poppy bee population and habitat status of each location and life history will be assessed by visit(s) during the appropriate times and weather conditions. The objective to document presence will be achieved by visiting all historic populations a minimum of three times per year, each year, until the Mojave poppy bee is detected and as many additional sites with potential habitat as possible. To determine occupancy or status of populations, visits to sites or locations of populations will be spaced out at approximately two-week intervals. Surveys of populations may cease during a field season after the presence of Mojave poppy bee has been detected at a site or location or if conditions are no longer suitable for detecting occupancy (e.g., all food or host plants no longer provide flowers). Sites for repeated visits will be prioritized where they provide the best opportunities for meeting project objectives. Surveys for the Mojave Poppy Bee will be conducted at known food plant sources across all four states within its range. The Mojave poppy bee’s known distribution coincides with the range of food plants, the Las Vegas bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica) and dwarf bearpoppy (Arctomecon humilis, federally endangered in UT), but is only known at a small fraction of their populations and for the widespread prickly poppies (Argemone sp.) is restricted to scattered sites in the eastern Mojave Desert. Surveys may include Arctomecon merriami, a plant with similar morphology to the known bearpoppy hosts and present within the bee’s known range, but which has not been previously surveyed.