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European Redlist Search for a Species

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Summary of Key Findings

Overall, 9.2% of bees are considered threatened in all of Europe, while at the EU 27 level, 9.1% are threatened with extinction. A further 5.2% and 5.4% of bees are considered Near Threatened in Europe and the EU 27, respectively (101 species at both levels). However, for 1,101 species (56.7%) in Europe and 1,048 species (55.6%) at the EU 27, there was not enough scientific information to evaluate their risk of extinction and thus, they were classified as Data Deficient. When more data become available, many of these might prove to be threatened as well.

By comparison, of groups that were comprehensively assessed in Europe, 59% of freshwater molluscs, 40% of freshwater fishes, 23% of amphibians, 20% of reptiles, 17% of mammals, 16% of dragonflies, 13% of birds, 9% of butterflies and 8% of aquatic plants are threatened. Additional European Red Lists assessing only a selection of species showed that 22% of terrestrial molluscs, 16% of crop wild relatives, 15% of saproxylic beetles, 2% of medicinal plants are also threatened. No other groups have yet been assessed at the European level.

Looking at the population trends of European bee species, 7.7% (150 species) of the species have declining populations, 12.6% (244 species) are more or less stable and 0.7% (13 species) are increasing. The population trend for 1,535 species (79%) remains unknown.

A high proportion of threatened bee species are endemic to either Europe (20.4%, 400 species) or the EU 27 (14.6%, 277 species), highlighting the responsibility that European countries have to protect the global populations of these species. Almost 30% of all the species threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable) at the European level are endemic to Europe (e.g., found nowhere else in the world).

The species richness of bees increases from north to south in Europe, with the highest species richness being found in the Mediterranean climate zone. In particular, the Iberian, Italian and Balkan peninsulas are important areas of species richness. Regarding the distribution of endemic species, southern Europe shows the highest concentration of endemism. The largest numbers of threatened species are located in south-central Europe and the pattern of distribution of Data Deficient species is primarily concentrated in the Mediterranean region.

The main threat to European bees is habitat loss as a result of agriculture intensification (e.g., changes in agricultural practices including the use of pesticides and fertilisers), urban development, increased frequency of fires and climate change.