Bombus


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  Alpigenobombus annotated checklist
MelanobombusBombus s. str. Alpigenobombus
Back to tree Number of species in equal-area (611,000 kmĀ²) grid cells with an equal-interval blue scale.
8 species
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B. kashmirensis
B. kashmirensis worker robbing Delphinium.

Alpigenobombus
ecology and behaviour

 

HABITAT: Alpine grassland, meadow, and forest-edge habitats in mountains.

 

FOOD-PLANTS: Short to medium tongue-length bumblebees. Females are unusual for having six strong mandibular teeth, which are often used for biting holes in deep flower corollas in order to rob nectar (e.g. photo left).

 

NESTING BEHAVIOUR: Nests underground. Pocket-makers only early in colony development.

 

MATE-SEARCHING BEHAVIOUR: Males of B. wurflenii (and probably the other species) patrol circuits of scent marks. Males of B. kashmirensis have slightly enlarged compound eyes relative to females. They hover and race after potential mates, without being territorial (Williams, 1991).

 

Subgenus ALPIGENOBOMBUS Skorikov
Alpigenobombus Skorikov, 1914a:128, type-species Alpigenobombus pulcherrimus Skorikov (= Bombus kashmirensis Friese) by subsequent designation of Williams, 1991:65
Bombus (Mastrucatobombus) Krüger, 1917:66, type-species Bombus mastrucatus Gerstaecker (= Bombus wurflenii Radoszkowski) by monotypy
Bombus (Alpigenobombus) Frison, 1927:64
[Nobilibombus Skorikov, 1933a:62, published without fixation of type-species]
[Bombus (Nobilibombus) Bischoff, 1936:12, type-species Nobilibombus morawitziides Skorikov (= Bombus nobilis Friese) by monotypy, published as a junior synonym]
Alpigenibombus Skorikov, 1938a:145, unjustified emendation
[Pyrobombus (Nobilibombus) Milliron, 1961:54, type-species Bombus nobilis Friese (cited as Bombus nobilis Skorikov) by original designation, published as a junior synonym]
Bombus (Nobilibombus) Richards, 1968:216,222, type-species Bombus nobilis Friese by original designation (see Williams, 1991)
[Alpegenobombus Wang, 1979:188, incorrect subsequent spelling]

 

Part of the bumblebee phylogenetic tree including available Alpigenobombus species from an analysis of DNA sequence data for five genes (Cameron et al. 2007 [pdf]). Values above branches are Bayesian posterior probabilities, values below branches are parsimony bootstrap values.

 

angustus
breviceps
genalis

grahami
kashmirensis
nobilis

validus
wurflenii

 

Bombus (Ag.) wurflenii Radoszkowskisubgeneric listall names
Wurflenii Radoszkowski, 1860:482, examined
[Wurfleini Radoszkowski, 1877b:191, incorrect subsequent spelling]
mastrucatus Gerstaecker, 1869:326, examined
alpigenus Morawitz, 1874:132
29 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Palaearctic Region.

 

Bombus (Ag.) kashmirensis Friesesubgeneric listall names
kashmirensis Friese, 1909[September, Tkalcu, 1974b]:673, examined
stramineus Friese, 1909[September, Tkalcu, 1974b]:673
tetrachromus Cockerell, 1909[November, Tkalcu, 1974b]:397, examined
pulcherrimus (Skorikov, 1914a:128 [Alpigenobombus])
14 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Several of these nominal taxa have been treated as separate species. However, aside from differences in colour pattern, they are closely similar in morphology with a range of variation (Williams, 1991 [pdf]:68). Until more evidence to the contrary is available from critical studies of patterns of variation, I shall treat them as parts of a single variable species.

NOMENCLATURE: Tkalcu (1974b) first regarded B. kashmirensis and B. stramineus as conspecific and, following the Principle of First Reviser (ICZN, 1999: Article 24), chose B. kashmirensis as the name for the species.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region, Palaearctic border.

 

Bombus (Ag.) nobilis Friesesubgeneric listall names
nobilis Friese, 1905:513
?sikkimi Friese, 1918:82, examined
[morawitziides Skorikov, [1923]:159, published without description]
[moravitziides Skorikov, 1931:203, published without description]
?morawitziides (Skorikov, 1933a:62 [Nobilibombus]) examined
?xizangensis Wang, 1979:188, examined
chayaensis Wang, 1979:189, examined
7 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Several of these nominal taxa have been treated as separate species.

The type specimens of B. nobilis have also been in some doubt (Richards, 1968). In the same publication as the description of B. validus, Friese (1905) described the female of B. nobilis as having a 'quadratisch' malar area and 4-5 teeth on the mandible (even though he placed it [p. 519] in a group with B. lapidarius). The original description lists several females (particularly from Sichuan), but the only putative type female that I have been able to examine (although it carries no Friese 'type' label) is in the Berlin museum collection and is a specimen of B. friseanus labelled 'Kashgar' (this locality is outside the known range of either B. nobilis or B. friseanus). The specimen does not match the original description of the mandibles of B. nobilis and so cannot be considered a valid syntype. Nonetheless, the identity of B. nobilis is clear from the original description, so the designation of a neotype is not justified (ICZN, 1999: Article 75).

B. chayaensis appears to me to be very closely similar to the yellow banded B. nobilis (in the strict sense) and I am unaware of any reason to treat them as separate species.

B. nobilis is interpreted here in a broad sense, to include a complex of morphologically closely similar taxa (Williams, 1991 [pdf]). At least some of the taxa included may prove to be separate species from B. nobilis. The most obvious variation is in the colour of the pale thoracic bands, which may be yellow (B. nobilis), yellow-white (B. sikkimi), gey-white (B. morawitziides). However, aside from these differences in colour pattern, they are similar in morphology with a range of variation. Until more evidence to the contrary is available from critical studies of patterns of variation, I shall treat them as parts of a single variable species.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ag.) validus Friesesubgeneric listall names
validus Friese, 1905:510, examined
1 name

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Friese (1905) described B. validus initially (p. 510) as having a quadrate malar area and untoothed mandibles, but went on (p. 517) to place it within the mastrucatus (= B. wurflenii) group, which he characterised as having a short malar area and toothed mandibles. Tkalcu (1987) designated as lectotype of B. validus a female with a quadrate malar area and multi-toothed mandibles. He also synonymised B. morawitziides with B. validus.

COI barcodes (unpublished) support the interpretation that B. validus is a species separate from B. nobilis.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ag.) grahami (Frison)subgeneric listall names
grahami (Frison, 1933:334 [Bremus]), examined
3 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ag.) genalis Friesesubgeneric listall names
genalis Friese, 1918:84, examined
1 name

TAXONOMIC STATUS: COI barcodes (unpublished) support the interpretation that B. genalis is a separate species.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

IUCN CONSERVATION STATUS: Preliminary assessment as VULNERABLE (Williams & Osborne, 2009) by criterion A2 (IUCN, 2001, 2008) that no records are known since 1983. The species has recently been rediscovered in China.

 

Bombus (Ag.) breviceps Smithsubgeneric listall names
nasutus Smith, 1852a:44, examined
breviceps Smith, 1852a:44, examined
dentatus Handlirsch, 1888:227
simulus Gribodo, 1892:114, examined
orichalceus Friese, 1916:107, examined
rufocognitus Cockerell, 1922:4, examined
pretiosus Bischoff, 1936:11, examined, not of Friese, 1911:571 (= B. polaris Curtis)
bischoffiellus (Tkalcu, 1977:224 [Alpigenobombus]) replacement name for pretiosus Bischoff, 1936:11
22 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Several of these nominal taxa have been treated as separate species. At least B. dentatus [Himalaya] may prove to be separate species (e.g. Tkalcu, 1968b, 1989). However, aside from differences in colour pattern, they are similar in morphology with a range of variation (Williams, 1991 [pdf]:67). Until more evidence to the contrary is available from critical studies of patterns of variation, I shall treat them as parts of a single variable species.

NOMENCLATURE: Tkalcu (1968b) first regarded B. nasutus and B. breviceps as likely to be conspecific and, following the Principle of First Reviser (ICZN, 1999: Article 24), chose B. breviceps as the name for the species.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ag.) angustus Chiusubgeneric listall names
angustus Chiu, 1948:59
1 name

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

 

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