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.
8 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. B. hyperboreus and B. natvigi are believed to be parasites 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, taken together the species have a nearly circumpolar distribution, as a major component of an Arctic bumble bee fauna (Williams et al., 2015 [pdf]).

 

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

kirbiellus
natvigi
neoboreus

polaris
pyrrhopygus

 

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.) pyrrhopygus Friesesubgeneric listall names
pyrrhopygus Friese, 1902:495
diabolicus Friese, 1911:571
alpiniformis Richards, 1931a:13
9 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Recent evidence from genes supports B. pyrrhopygus and B. polaris as separate species (Williams et al., 2015 [pdf]).

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, Palaearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Al.) polaris Curtissubgeneric listall names
Arcticus Kirby in Parry, 1824:ccxvi, examined, not of Quensel in Acerbi, 1802:253 (= B. hyperboreus Schönherr)
Polaris Curtis in Ross, 1835:lxiii, examined
7 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: see comments on B. pyrrhopygus.

NOMENCLATURE: Løken (1973) used the name B. arcticus Kirby for this species because she considered B. arcticus (Quensel) 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 (Quensel) to be suppressed by use of the Plenary Power. See the comments on B. hyperboreus.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, W Nearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Al.) balteatus Dahlbomsubgeneric listall names
balteatus Dahlbom, 1832:36
nivalis Dahlbom, 1832:40
tricolor Dahlbom, 1832:41
tristis Sparre-Schneider in Friese, 1902:495, not of Seidl, 1837:69 (= B. humilis Illiger)
26 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.

Recent evidence from genes supports B. balteatus and B. kirbiellus as separate species, but with different concepts of their scope from Milliron (Williams et al., 2015 [pdf]).

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 should be 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 Regions.

 

Bombus (Al.) kirbiellus Curtissubgeneric listall names
Kirbiellus Curtis in Ross, 1835:lxii
kirbyellus Dalla Torre, 1896:527, unjustified emendation
8 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: see comments on B. balteatus.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, 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

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Recent evidence from genes supports B. neoboreus and a currently unnamed cryptic species as separate species (Williams et al., 2015 [pdf]).

NOMENCLATURE: B. strenuus Cresson (1863) is a junior secondary homonym in Bombus of Apis strenuus Harris (1776), and therefore the name 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.) natvigi Richardssubgeneric listall names
natvigi Richards, 1931:9, examined

6 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Recent evidence from genes supports B. natvigi and B. hyperboreus as separate species (Williams et al., 2015 [pdf]).

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, W Nearctic Regions.

COMMENT: B. natvigi has been suggested to be a social parasite in colonies of B. polaris (Milliron & Oliver, 1966; K. W. Richards, 1973). See the comments on Psithyrus and B. inexspectatus.

 

Bombus (Al.) hyperboreus Schönherrsubgeneric listall names
Arctica (Quensel in Acerbi, 1802:253 [Apis])
hyperboreus Schönherr, 1809:57, replacement name for arcticus Quenzel, 1802:253

5 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: The identity of B. arcticus (Quensel) (spelled Quenzel in the original publication) has been uncertain (Baker, 1996a:16, believes that it may have been published by accident rather than design). Warncke (1986) listed B. arcticus (Quensel) 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 Quensel's description. I agree with Løken (1973) that, from the original description and the illustration (no type specimen is known to exist), B. arcticus (Quensel) is most likely to be conspecific with B. hyperboreus, which has the pale pubescence uniformly brownish yellow.

See the comments on B. natvigi.

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 (Quensel) 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 (Quensel) 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.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Arctic, Palaearctic Regions.

COMMENT: B. hyperboreus has been suggested to be a social parasite in colonies of B. pyrrhopygus (Løken, 1973). See the comments on Psithyrus and B. inexspectatus.

 

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