Here we present a checklist of the bee species found on the C. Hart Merriam elevation gradient along the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. Elevational gradients can serve as natural proxies for climate change, replacing time with space as they span multiple vegetation zones over a short geographic distance. Describing the distribution of bee species along this elevation gradient will help predict how bee communities might respond to changing climate. To address this, we initiated an inventory associated with ecological studies on pollinators that documented bees on the San Francisco Peaks. Sample sites spanned six life zones (vegetation zones) on the San Francisco Peaks from 2009 to 2019. We also include occurrence data from other studies, gathered by querying the Symbiota Collection of Arthropods Network (SCAN) portal covering the San Francisco Peaks region (hereafter referred to as “the Peaks”).
Our checklist reports 359 bee species and morphospecies spanning five families and 46 genera that have been collected in the Peaks region. Prior to our concerted sampling effort there were records for 155 bee species, yet there has not been a complete list of bee species inhabiting the Peaks published to date. Over a 10-year period, we documented an additional 204 bee species inhabiting the Peaks. Our study documents range expansions to northern Arizona for 15 species. The majority of these are range expansions from either southern Arizona, southern Utah, or the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado. Nine species are new records for Arizona, four of which are the southernmost record for that species. An additional 15 species are likely undescribed.