Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)) This is a bumblebee found mainly in North America west of the Rocky Mountains. Various sources disagree substantially about the actual distribution, but most include Washington (e.g. Seattle area), and all include Oregon and coastal California. Kearns and Thomson (2001) add Douglas and Washoe Counties in northwestern Nevada. Others give a much larger range. Some of this discrepancy reflects differences in taxonomy, e.g., the Bumblebee.org website lists Oregon, California, and Nevada for Bombus edwardsii (now usually considered conspecific), and Alaska to Idaho and Colorado for B. melanopygus. A Xerces Society identification guide (Evans, 2009). illustrates both forms or taxa and indicates the typical morph is northern and montane while the "edwardsii" coloration occurs mostly along coast, but that form also occurs inland in southern parts of the range. The Discover Life range map (as of May 2010) cannot be fit to the taxonomy used here. It is clearly a composite including some more widespread taxon that goes east across Canada--no attempt was made to resolve the details. The composite range for both forms or subspecies appears to include northern and coastal California, most of Oregon and Washington and east into northwestern Nevada and Idaho, British Columbia, and apparently into Alaska.

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Physical Description

Type Information

Lectotype for Bombus edwardsii Cresson, 1878
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Pinned
Collector(s): Lorquin
Locality: Col.. Date:Not recorded, California, United States
  • Lectotype: 1878. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 184.
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Ecology

Associations

Flowering Plants Visited by Bombus edwardsii in Illinois

Bombus edwardsii Cresson: Apidae (Bombini), Hymenoptera
(observations are from Graenicher)

Asteraceae: Cirsium arvense sn cp (Gr); Caprifoliaceae: Lonicera oblongifolia sn (Gr), Lonicera reticulata sn fq (Gr); Salicaceae: Salix discolor [unsp sn] (Gr)

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Bombus melanopygus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 39
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NU - Unrankable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Ranking is confounded by widely disparate ranges given in recent references and limited information found for the northern parts of the range or from relatively natural habitats. Apparently though this bumblebee, as defined here, is fairly common from at least British Columbia well into California. It can persist well in urban parks and farmland. It possibly is somewhat of a local floral specialist near San Francisco, but unlike some bumblebees, the abundance of B. melanopygus is apparently not negatively correlated with that of B. vosnesenskii there. It is not certain how widely either of these observations from McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005) apply away from San Francisco. While more information would likely resolve the rank to G5, for now the species is ranked G4G5, apparently to demonstrably secure. If recognized as a subspecies, B. melanopygus edwardsii from much of the US range would probably rank T4, perhaps T5.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Comments: A generalist for nesting sites, but may be more specialized than usual in terms of floral visitation. McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005), in the San Francisco area, found this species only in study sites with Ceanothus thrysiflorus which these bees commonly visited.

Other Considerations: McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005) found abundance of B. melanopygus to be unaffected by that of the superabundant B. vosnesenskii. They suggest this could be because B. melanopygus can nest either below ground (often old rodent nests) or above ground, e.g. in old bird nests and so is less affected by competition from that species than are species that nest only below ground. However, in the San Francisco area they found this species only in study sites with Ceanothus thrysiflorus.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: This is one of the few bumblebees still found regularly in San Francisco and is rather common in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, so it is apparently tolerant of urban and agricultural environments. Little information was found regarding more northern parts of the range but this species is not listed as in general decline by Xerces Society or others and is regarded as common in British Columbia.

Global Long Term Trend: Unknown

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Threats

Degree of Threat: Unknown

Comments: Apparently does rather well in some agricultural areas and can survive in cities to some extent. This subgenus is not suspected to be impacted by exotic diseases or parasites.

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Wikipedia

Bombus melanopygus

The black-tailed bumblebee, Bombus melanopygus,[1] is a species of bumblebee native to western North America from British Columbia to California, and as far east as Idaho.[2]

In the southern part of its range, the third and fourth segments of the abdomen are black instead of the red color seen in the northern populations, and this black color form was formerly known as Bombus edwardsii.[3]

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Subgenus: Pyrobombus

Currently Bombus "edwardsii" is included in this species and it has been treated as a subspecies or a mere color form which would have no taxonomic standing. The analyses by Owen et al. (2010) support conspecificity.

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