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‘Ant-like’ bees among new Desert Species Identified by Utah State University(USU) in US

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NewYork, December 24, 2016: Studying a diverse group of solitary, desert bees, researchers have reported identification of nine new species of the genus Perdita, including two ant-like males.

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These solitary bees are not major pollinators of agricultural crops, but fill an important role in natural ecosystems of the American Southwest, including the sizzling sand dunes of California’s Death Valley.

In a study published in the journal Zootaxa, the researchers described curious ant-like males of two of the species, which are completely different in appearance from their mates.

“It’s unclear why these males have this unique form, but it could indicate they spend a lot of time in the nest,” said entomologist Zach Portman from Utah State University in the US.

“We may find more information as we learn more about their nesting biology,” Portman noted.

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Portman tracked the tiny elusive bees by watching for their buzzing shadows in the blinding, midday sunlight the diminutive insects tend to favour.

“Their activity during the hottest part of the day may be a way of avoiding predators,” Portman said.

“They appear to be important pollinators of desert plants commonly known as ‘Crinklemats'” Portman explained.

Crinklemats, flowering plants of the genus Tiquilia, grow low to the ground and feature ridged, hairy leaves and small, trumpet-shaped blue blossoms.

“Like the bees, Tiquilia flowers are very small,” Portman said.

“The bees must squeeze into the long, narrow corollas and dunk their heads into the flowers to extract the pollen,” he added.

The scientists reported that the female bees use pollen collected from the flowers to build up a supply to nourish their young.

Once they have completed a pollen provision, the bees lay their eggs on the stash and leave their offspring to fend for themselves.

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Though declines in bee populations have heightened awareness of the importance of pollinating insects to the world’s food supply, numerous bee species remain undescribed or poorly understood, the researchers pointed out. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)