Bombus


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  Alpinobombus annotated checklist
PyrobombusBombus s. str. Alpinobombus
Back to tree Number of species in equal-area (611,000 kmĀ²) grid cells with an equal-interval blue scale.
5 species

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B. alpinus
B. alpinus queen resting.

Alpinobombus
ecology and behaviour

 

HABITAT: Grasslands and shrublands in high arctic and alpine areas.

 

FOOD-PLANTS: Medium to long tongue-length bumblebees visiting medium to deep flowers.

 

NESTING BEHAVIOUR: Nests underground or on the surface. Pocket-makers only early in colony development. Colonies are particularly small and short-lived. One species, B. hyperboreus, is believed to be a facultative parasite in colonies of the others (Løken, 1973; K. W. Richards, 1973).

 

MATE-SEARCHING BEHAVIOUR: Males patrol circuits of scent marks.

 

Subgenus ALPINOBOMBUS Skorikov
Alpinobombus Skorikov, 1914a:123, type-species Apis alpina Linnaeus (= Bombus alpinus (Linnaeus)) by subsequent designation of Frison, 1927:66
Bombus (Alpinobombus) Krüger, 1917:62
Alpinibombus Skorikov, 1937:53, unjustified emendation

 

COMMENT: Species of the subgenus Alpinobombus make up the most northerly distributed of all bee faunas (e.g. K. W. Richards, 1973). Indeed, three of the five species have a nearly circumpolar distribution, as a major component of an Arctic bumble bee fauna (Williams, 1996b [pdf]). This homogeneity of Arctic species among the northern continents resembles the distribution of the Arctic flora, which shows little regional differentiation (Hooker, 1861; Walker, 1995).

 

Part of the bumblebee phylogenetic tree including all Alpinobombus 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.

alpinus
balteatus

hyperboreus
neoboreus

polaris

 

Bombus (Al.) polaris Curtissubgeneric listall names
Arcticus Kirby in Parry, 1824:ccxvi, examined, not of Quenzel in Acerbi, 1802:253 (= B. hyperboreus Schönherr)
Polaris Curtis in Ross, 1835:lxiii, examined
diabolicus Friese, 1911:571
alpiniformis Richards, 1931a:13
15 names

NOMENCLATURE: Løken (1973) used the name B. arcticus Kirby for this species because she considered B. arcticus (Quenzel) to be a nomen oblitum. However, this is not supported by the present Code for a publication of this date (ICZN, 1999: Article 23.12), although it does allow B. arcticus (Quenzel) to be suppressed by use of the Plenary Power. See the comments on B. hyperboreus.

It is suggested in the comments on B. hyperboreus that, in the interests of stability (ICZN, 1999: Article 23), an application be made to ICZN to use its Plenary Power (ICZN, 1999: Article 78) to suppress B. arcticus (Quenzel), the unused senior synonym of B. hyperboreus. This would free B. arcticus Kirby from junior primary homonymy with B. arcticus (Quenzel) (ICZN, 1999: Article 57), so that B. arcticus Kirby would become the valid name for this species. However, although the name B. arcticus Kirby has been in use for this species (e.g. Løken, 1973; Sakagami, 1976; Svensson & Lundberg, 1977; Reinig, 1981), the more frequently used name has been B. polaris (e.g. Milliron & Oliver, 1966; Milliron, 1973a; K. W. Richards, 1973; Hurd, 1979; Pekkarinen, 1979; Pekkarinen et al., 1981; Rasmont, 1983; Pekkarinen & Teräs, 1993). In the interests of stability, the application to ICZN for B. hyperboreus might be extended to suppress B. arcticus Kirby, in order to conserve the current usage of B. polaris as the valid name (in prep.).

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, Palaearctic, W Nearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Al.) alpinus (Linnaeus)subgeneric listall names

alpina (Linnaeus, 1758:579 [Apis]) examined
6 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Palaearctic Region.

 

Bombus (Al.) balteatus Dahlbomsubgeneric listall names
balteatus Dahlbom, 1832:36
nivalis Dahlbom, 1832:40
tricolor Dahlbom, 1832:41
?Kirbiellus Curtis in Ross, 1835:lxii
kirbyellus Dalla Torre, 1896:527, unjustified emendation
tristis Sparre-Schneider in Friese, 1902:495, not of Seidl, 1837:69 (= B. humilis Illiger)
35 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: B. balteatus and B. kirbiellus have been considered conspecific by most authors (e.g. Thomson, 1872; Richards, 1931a; Skorikov, 1937; Pittioni, 1942; Løken, 1973; Hurd, 1979; Thorp et al., 1983), although Milliron (1973a) considered them to be separate species that co-occur, particularly in Alaska.

Milliron (1973a) described several characters by which to discriminate B. balteatus and B. kirbiellus, placing particular emphasis on the shape of male gastral sternum VIII and the female malar area.

From the small samples I have examined, I have been unable to find convincing evidence of discrete differences in these characters. 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: Richards (1931a) believed B. balteatus, B. nivalis and B. tricolor to be conspecific and selected the name B. balteatus to have precedence because it was published on an earlier page (page priority is not a mandatory part of the Code, only a recommendation of the earlier edition, ICZN, 1985: Recommendation 24A). However, Thomson (1872:35) had already chosen the name B. nivalis in precedence to B. balteatus and, following the Principle of the First Reviser (ICZN, 1999: Article 24), Thomson's action should now stand. Consequently, the valid name for this species is B. nivalis.

Although B. nivalis is the valid name for this species, the name B. balteatus has been in common use for the species since 1950 (e.g. Løken, 1973; Milliron, 1973a; Plowright & Stephen, 1973; Hurd, 1979; Pekkarinen, 1979; Reinig, 1981; Rasmont, 1983; Thorp et al., 1983; Laverty & Harder, 1988; Pekkarinen & Teräs, 1993). It is suggested that, in the interests of stability (ICZN, 1999: Article 23), prevailing usage be maintained (in prep.).

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, Palaearctic, W Nearctic Regions, E Nearctic border.

 

Bombus (Al.) neoboreus Sladensubgeneric listall names
strenuus Cresson, 1863:102, not of Harris, 1776:131 (= B. lapidarius (Linnaeus))
neoboreus Sladen, 1919:28
2 names

NOMENCLATURE: B. strenuus Cresson (1863) is a junior secondary homonym in Bombus of Apis strenuus Harris (1776), and therefore B. strenuus Cresson is invalid (ICZN, 1999: Article 57). For this species, the oldest available name is B. neoboreus, which becomes the valid name. The only publications using the name B. strenuus Cresson since 1950 of which I am aware are by Hurd (1979), Milliron (1973a) and Poole (1996), so this change of valid name is not a serious disruption of common usage.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, W Nearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Al.) hyperboreus Schönherrsubgeneric listall names
Arctica (Quenzel in Acerbi, 1802:253 [Apis])
hyperboreus Schönherr, 1809:57, unjustified replacement name for arcticus Quenzel, 1802:253
clydensis Yarrow, 1955:151, examined

10 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: The identity of B. arcticus (Quenzel) has been uncertain (Baker, 1996a:16, believes that it may have been published by accident rather than design). Warncke (1986) listed B. arcticus (Quenzel) as conspecific with B. lapponicus without any explanation. Presumably this was because B. lapponicus is extensively pale on the dorsum, although the pale pubescence is differentiated into yellow and red areas and much of it is much paler than Quenzel's description. I agree with Løken (1973) that, from the original description and the illustration (no type specimen is known to exist), B. arcticus (Quenzel) is most likely to be conspecific with B. hyperboreus, which has the pale pubescence uniformly brownish yellow.

NOMENCLATURE: The name B. arcticus has rarely been used for this species in preference to B. hyperboreus, and perhaps only as a misidentification of B. arcticus Kirby (see e.g. Franklin, 1913; Richards, 1931a). Løken (1973) considered B. arcticus (Quenzel) to be a nomen oblitum, so she continued to use the name B. hyperboreus. However, nomina oblita are not supported for a publication of this date by the present Code (ICZN, 1999: Article 23.12), although it allows that B. arcticus (Quenzel) could be suppressed by use of the Plenary Power.

Although B. arcticus is the oldest available name for the present interpretation of this species, the name B. hyperboreus has been in common use for the species since 1950 (e.g. Løken, 1973; Milliron, 1973a; K. W. Richards, 1973; Svensson & Lundberg, 1977; Hurd, 1979; Pekkarinen, 1979; Pekkarinen et al., 1981; Reinig, 1981; Rasmont, 1983; Pekkarinen & Teräs, 1993). It is suggested that, in the interests of stability (ICZN, 1999: Article 23), an application be made to ICZN to use its Plenary Power to suppress an unused senior synonym (ICZN, 1999: Article 78), in order to confirm the usage of B. hyperboreus as the valid name (in prep.). See the comments on B. polaris Curtis.

COMMENT: B. hyperboreus has been suggested to be a social parasite in colonies of B. polaris, at least facultatively in some parts of its range (Milliron & Oliver, 1966; Løken, 1973; K. W. Richards, 1973). See the comments on Psithyrus and B. inexspectatus.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, Palaearctic, W Nearctic Regions.

 

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