Buzzing through air and space: New species of bee named after Canadian astronaut

A Saskatchewan scientist has named a new species of bee after Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Cory Sheffield says he came across a unique looking female bee while cataloguing insect specimens in a collection with the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina.

The museum’s curator of invertebrate zoology says that after examining the specimen for a second time, he determined it to be a new species of bee.

This new species of bee, Andrena hadfieldi, is named after Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield. (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

He named the new species Andrena hadfieldi. Sheffield writes about the discovery and his decision to name it after Hadfield in a paper published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research.

He said he greatly respects Hadfield, who has also become a renowned speaker and science educator.

“After I had finished my research on the specimen and confirmed that it was indeed a new species, I thought of Colonel Hadfield, someone I have immense respect for,” Sheffield said in a statement Monday.

He said he asked Hadfield for permission to name the bee after him.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield responds to a question during a news conference from the International Space Station on Jan. 10, 2013. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)