New bee species honours high-flying Canadian hero

Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) makes announcement

The Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) announced today that a newly recognized species of bee native to North America is named in honour of Canadian Astronaut Colonel Christopher Hadfield.

In an academic paper, authored by RSM Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, Dr. Cory Sheffield and published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, Sheffield makes the scientific case for the insect’s uniqueness as well as the story behind naming it after a true Canadian hero.

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“The RSM provides a tremendous scientific and cultural centre of learning for students and visitors of all ages,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said.  “This fascinating new discovery reflects the high level of scientific research at the museum which, along with world class exhibits, amazing provincial collections, and educational programming, benefit and contribute to the quality of life for the people of our province.”

In the paper, Dr. Sheffield describes how, in his ongoing work re-examining, verifying and cataloguing the hundreds of thousands of specimens in the provincial entomology collection at the RSM, that he came across a unique female bee specimen and set it aside for further examination.  On the second examination, it was clear he was looking at a new species of bee.

“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, and asked him if he would be agreeable to having it named in his honour,” Dr. Sheffield said.  “Today, it is a privilege to name this new species Andrena hadfieldi after Canadian astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield for his many achievements as a pilot, astronaut, author, lecturer, and science educator.”

Regular academic publishing contributes to the RSM’s status as an internationally recognized centre for research and teaching.

To learn more about entomological research and other exciting work at the RSM, visit For more information about the RSM, programming, or to learn how you can support the RSM’s world class research and programming, visit, Facebook (@Royal.Saskatchewan.Museum), Twitter (@royalsaskmuseum) or Instagram (@RoyalSaskMuseum).

The RSM, located at 2445 Albert Street, is currently closed.  Visit. Donate. Discover – Online!

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