Bombus


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  Melanobombus annotated checklist
AlpigenobombusSibiricobombus Melanobombus
Back to tree Number of species in equal-area (611,000 kmĀ²) grid cells with an equal-interval blue scale.
16 species
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B. pyrosoma
B. pyrosoma worker visiting Lomatogonium.

Melanobombus
ecology and behaviour

 

HABITAT: High alpine grassland, mountain-meadow, open grassland, semi-desert, together with a few very large species (B. eximius, B. rufipes) of tropical hill forests.

 

FOOD-PLANTS: Short, medium, or occasionally long tongue-length bumblebees, visiting correspondingly shallow to deep flowers. Some species of this subgenus may have a particular preference for compound inflorescences, such as those of the Compositae. They also provide 'buzz' pollination.

 

NESTING BEHAVIOUR: Nests underground. Non-pocket makers. Melanobombus includes a few species (e.g. B. rufipes) of tropical hill forests that have colonies which may persist for more than one year.

 

MATE-SEARCHING BEHAVIOUR: Males of many species patrol circuits of scent marks. But males of some species have enlarged compound eyes relative to the females and hover or perch before racing after potential mates. These species may be truly territorial (e.g. B. rufofasciatus; Williams, 1991).

 

Subgenus MELANOBOMBUS Dalla Torre
Bombus (Melanobombus) Dalla Torre, 1880:40, type-species Apis lapidaria Linnaeus (= Bombus lapidarius (Linnaeus)) by subsequent designation of Sandhouse, 1943:569
Bombus (Lapidariobombus) Vogt, 1911:58, type-species Apis lapidaria Linnaeus (= Bombus lapidarius (Linnaeus)) by subsequent designation of Sandhouse, 1943:562
Kozlovibombus Skorikov, [1923]:152, type-species Bombus kozlovi Skorikov, 1910b (= Bombus keriensis Morawitz) in the sense of Skorikov, [1923] (based on males = Bombus pyrosoma Morawitz, a misidentification, see Reinig, 1934:169), by subsequent fixation of Sandhouse, 1943:561
Rufipedibombus Skorikov, [1923]:156, type-species Bombus rufipes Lepeletier by monotypy
[Atrocinctob.[ombus] Skorikov, 1933b:244, published without description]
Bombus (Kozlowibombus) Bischoff, 1936:10, unjustified emendation
Lapidariibombus Skorikov, 1938a:145, unjustified emendation
?Bombus (Tanguticobombus) Pittioni, 1939d:201, type-species Bombus tanguticus Morawitz by original designation
Bombus (Rufipedobombus) Kruseman, 1952:102, unjustified emendation
Pyrobombus (Festivobombus) Tkalcu, 1972:26, 27, type-species Bombus festivus Smith by original designation
[Bombus (Lapedariobombus) Esmaili & Rastegar, 1974:52, incorrect subsequent spelling]

 

TAXONOMIC STATUS: For a discussion of why several former subgenera have been synonymised within this subgenus see Williams et al. (2008 [pdf]) .

 

Part of the bumblebee phylogenetic tree including available Melanobombus 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.

eximius
festivus

friseanus
incertus
keriensis
ladakhensis

lapidarius
miniatus
pyrosoma
richardsiellus
rufipes

rufofasciatus
semenovianus
sichelii
simillimus
tanguticus

 

 

rufipes-group of species

 

Bombus (Ml.) rufipes Lepeletiersubgeneric listall names
rufipes Lepeletier, [1835]:473
richardsi (Frison, 1930:6 [Bremus])
5 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Sumatran Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) eximius Smithsubgeneric listall names
eximius Smith, 1852b:47, examined
latissimus Friese, 1910:405
13 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

 

festivus-group of species

 

Bombus (Ml.) festivus Smithsubgeneric listall names
festivus Smith, 1861:152, examined
atrocinctus Smith in Horne, 1870:193, examined
terminalis Smith in Horne, 1870:193, examined
8 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

 

rufofasciatus-group of species

 

Bombus (Ml.) simillimus Smithsubgeneric listall names
simillimis Smith, 1852b:48, examined
[similis Smith, 1854:403, incorrect subsequent spelling]
[simillimus Dalla Torre, 1896:548, incorrect subsequent spelling]
grossiventris Friese, 1931:303, examined
oculatus (Frison, 1933:335 [Bremus]) examined
tonsus (Skorikov, 1933b:248 [Sibiricobombus]) examined
simillimus Williams, 1991:99, justified emendation
12 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) miniatus Binghamsubgeneric listall names
flavothoracicus Bingham, 1897:552, examined, not of Hoffer, 1889:49 (= B. campestris (Panzer))
miniatus Bingham, 1897:553, examined
eurythorax Wang, 1982:435, examined
stenothorax Wang, 1982:439, examined
4 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: B. miniatus has been considered conspecific with B. pyrosoma, B. formosellus and B. friseanus (Williams, 1991 [pdf]).

Evidence of intermediates between B. miniatus and B. friseanus is not strong, but perhaps not least because so little material is available from where these taxa occur in close proximity in the eastern Himalaya. The few workers and males from this area that I have seen are difficult to assign to either taxon with any confidence, although the queens are closer to the colour pattern of B. miniatus (Williams, 1991 [pdf]). More evidence is awaited.

B. eurythorax and B. stenothorax are closely similar in morphology and colour pattern to B. miniatus. I know of no reason why these nominal taxa should not be considered conspecific.

NOMENCLATURE: With Psithyrus regarded as being a subgenus of the genus Bombus, B. flavothoracicus Bingham (1897) becomes a junior secondary homonym in Bombus of Psithyrus campestris var. flavothoracicus Hoffer (1889) (deemed to be subspecific, see ICZN, 1999: Article 45.6), and therefore B. flavothoracicus Bingham is invalid (ICZN, 1999: Article 57).

For this species, the oldest available name is B. miniatus, which becomes the valid name. The only subsequent publications of which I am aware that use the name B. flavothoracicus for this taxon as a species are by Tkalcu (1974b), Wang (1982) and Macior (1990), so this change of valid name is not a serious disruption of common usage.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) rufofasciatus Smithsubgeneric listall names
rufo-fasciatus [rufofasciatus] Smith, 1852b:48, examined
Prshewalskyi Morawitz, 1880:342
rufocinctus Morawitz, 1880:343, examined, not of Cresson, 1863:106 (= B. rufocinctus Cresson)
chinensis Dalla Torre, 1890[June 25]:139, replacement name for rufocinctus Morawitz, 1880:343; not of Morawitz, 1890[April 30]:352 (= B. chinensis (Morawitz))
waterstoni Richards, 1934:88, examined
11 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region, Palaearctic border.

 

Bombus (Ml.) richardsiellus (Tkalcu)subgeneric listall names
richardsiellus (Tkalcu, 1968a:42 [Pyrobombus]) examined
2 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) friseanus Skorikovsubgeneric listall names
friseanus Skorikov, 1933a:62, examined
hönei [hoenei] Bischoff, 1936:10, examined
2 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: B. friseanus has been considered conspecific with B. pyrosoma (Bischoff, 1936; Tkalcu, 1961b; Sakagami, 1972) and has been considered conspecific with B. pyrosoma, B. formosellus, and B. flavothoracicus (= B. miniatus) (Williams, 1991 [pdf]). From a preliminary survey of colour variation, these taxa appear to remain discrete and are likely to be separate species. S.-f. Wang and J. Yao (in litt.) also believe that the taxa may be separate. More evidence is awaited.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) pyrosoma Morawitzsubgeneric listall names
pyrosoma Morawitz, 1890:349, examined
pyrrhosoma Dalla Torre, 1896:544, unjustified emendation
?formosellus (Frison, 1934:163 [Bremus]) examined
wutaishanensis (Tkalcu, 1968a:39 [Pyrobombus]) examined
10 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: B. pyrosoma has been considered conspecific with B. friseanus (Bischoff, 1936) and has been considered conspecific with B. formosellus, B. friseanus, and B. flavothoracicus (= B. miniatus) (Williams, 1991 [pdf]). More evidence is awaited.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region, Palaearctic border.

 

 

lapidarius-group of species

 

Bombus (Ml.) tanguticus Morawitzsubgeneric listall names
tanguticus Morawitz, 1887:200
2 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Queens of B. tanguticus are morphologicaly very distinctive (discussed in Williams, 1991 [pdf]), so much so that Pittioni (1939d) considered the species warranted a subgenus of its own. The species is very rare in collections and the male remains apparently unknown (the species occurs only at high altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau). Workers have recently been rediscovered in Qinghai.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) lapidarius (Linnaeus)subgeneric listall names
Lapidaria (Linnaeus, 1758:579 [Apis]) examined
Strenuus (Harris, 1776:131 [Apis])
eriophorus Klug, 1807:265, examined
caucasicus Radoszkowski, 1860:482, examined
37 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Palaearctic Region.

INTRODUCTIONS: This species was deliberately introduced into Christchurch, New Zealand, but is not known to have persisted (Sladen, 1912).

NOTES on this species in Britain.

 

Bombus (Ml.) ladakhensis Richardssubgeneric listall names
ladakhensis Richards, 1928a:336, examined, not infrasubspecific after Tkalcu, 1974b:335
phariensis Richards, 1930:642, examined, not infrasubspecific after Tkalcu, 1974b:336
variopictus Skorikov, 1933b:248, examined
reticulatus Bischoff, 1936:7, examined
6 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental Region, Palaearctic border.

 

Bombus (Ml.) keriensis Morawitzsubgeneric listall names
keriensis Morawitz, 1887:199, examined
separandus Vogt, 1909:61, examined
kohli Vogt, 1909:61, examined, not of Cockerell, 1906:75 (= B. morio (Swederus))
kozlovi Skorikov, 1910b:413, replacement name for kohli Vogt, 1909:61
tenellus Friese, 1913:86
[alagesianus (Skorikov, [1923]:152 [Lapidariobombus]) published without description]
alagesianus Reinig, 1930:89
pamirus (Skorikov, 1931:226 [Lapidariobombus]) not of Skorikov, 1931:232 [= B. oberti Morawitz]
richardsi Reinig, 1935:341, not of Frison, 1930:6 (= B. rufipes Lepeletier)
tibetensis Wang, 1982:439, replacement name for richardsi Reinig, 1935:341
trilineatus Wang, 1982:441, examined
42 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Several of these nominal taxa have been treated as separate species (e.g. Skorikov, 1931), although B. keriensis has also long been considered to be a broadly-distributed and variable species, including both yellow-banded and white-banded individuals throughout much of its range (Reinig, 1935, 1939; Williams, 1991 [pdf]).

The taxon alagesianus is morphologically closely similar to B. keriensis. Evidence from comparisons of COI barcodes is consistent with the two taxa being parts of the same species, although much more work is needed on the Asian taxa. Until more evidence to the contrary is available from more detailed studies of patterns of variation, I shall continue to treat them as parts of a single variable species.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental, Palaearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Ml.) semenovianus (Skorikov)subgeneric listall names
semenovianus (Skorikov, 1914a:127 [Lapidariobombus]) examined
3 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental, Palaearctic Regions.

 

Bombus (Ml.) incertus Morawitzsubgeneric listall names
incertus Morawitz, 1881:229
2 names

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Palaearctic Region.

 

Bombus (Ml.) sichelii Radoszkowskisubgeneric listall names
Sichelii Radoszkowski, 1860:481, examined
[Sicheli Radoszkowski, 1877b:213, incorrect subsequent spelling]
tenuifasciatus Vogt, 1909:49, not of Vogt, 1909:49 (= B. pyrenaeus Pérez) after Tkalcu, 1973:266
chinganicus Reinig, 1936:6, not of Reinig, 1936:8 (?= B. bohemicus Seidl)
erzurumensis (Özbek, 1990:209 [Pyrobombus]) examined
27 names

TAXONOMIC STATUS: Until recently, the white-banded form of B. sichelii has been known from west of the Caspian Sea only from the Caucasus (Reinig, 1935). Now that the taxon erzurumensis (morphologically closely similar to B. sichelii and with white bands) has been described from Turkey, it could be interpreted as another white-banded (but western) colour form. Evidence from COI barcodes is consistent with the two taxa being conspecific, although more work is needed.

Until more evidence to the contrary is available from critical studies of patterns of variation, I shall continue to treat them as parts of a single variable species.

MORPHOLOGY: photos of male genitalia.

DISTRIBUTION: Oriental, Palaearctic Regions.

 

 

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