more Bombus terrestris

Systematics and other topics

more Bombus terrestris

Postby Eckart Stolle on 24 Jun 2009, 14:55


Thanks very much to all, who provided some Bombus terrestris samples earlier this year. I'm currently using them for my analysis. I took one specimen from each location so far and could confirm the identification - they very clearly were all Bombus terrestris.
For another project concerning the genetic structure of Bombus terrestris in its natural distribution range, we gonna collect more samples this year and next year (maybe even 2011). As we cant travel to all places i'm asking here if anyone could catch a few Bombus tererstris workers or males into an alcoholtube (i can send you some). around 10 specimens per location would be good (to check for natural variation), but if there is a good opportunity a sample of 50-100 specimens of a single location would be very interesting, as such a large sample allows also to investigate the local population-genetics (genetic diversity, allel frequencies, colony-density). If there is Psithyrus vestalis (its social parasite) at the same location just also collect them into the same tube (with that we can compare host and social parasite).

The species is one of the most common and declining nowhere in Europe (Rasmont 2008 An overview of the Bombus terrestris subspecies). As usually colony densities are high, workers at a specific patch of flower (e.g.) belong most probably to many colonies. Therefore a larger sample does not have a big impact on the colony-viability - especially at the end of the colony-lifetime. Males are produced in large quantities in the late stage of the colony and collecting them does not have an impact on the population - probably 99% of the males wont mate with a queen anyway so they r not contributing to the population anyway. So dont worry too much about them.

ID of workers is lamost not possible in the field (terrestris is usually darkeryellow), and colouration can vary, especially in the subspecies occuring in southern Europe and North Africa. Males (at least in Middle Europe) can be distinguished rel. easy: B.terrestris has a dark-haired face, B.lucorum a yellow-haired face. To be certain i will check the species identity with molecular tools.

Thanks to some collegues and own sampling i got some samples from here already:
Germany (Halle, Südharz)
France (Normandie, Provence/Arles)
Belgium (Zemst)
Norway (Oslo)
Sweden (Stockholm)
Hungary (Debrecen)
Estonia (Tartu)
Ireland (Belfast)
Austria (Vienna)
Kyrgyztan (Issyk-Kul area)
Switzerland (Zürich)
probably soon: Czech Republic (Bohemia)

The species is distributed across Europe, with isolated populations on some mediterrean and canary islands, northern Africa (morocco, algeria, tuneasia), european Russia, Caucasus, Turkey, Northern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan)

I'm interested in samples from different locations as those mentioned above, especially from following countries/areas:
Russia (anywhere, north-west, south towards caspian sea and Ekatarinburg)
Greek Islands
Balkan/former Yugoslavia
Kazakhstan (especially the northern part around Kustanaj and then the NE part around Semipalatinsk)

I would much appreciate any help getting some samples :) Just answer this post or write an PM or email ( eckart.stolle (at) ) to get in contact with me.
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Eckart Stolle
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