kcf32's picture

Red-Tailed Bumble Bee

Observed: 6th August 2009 By: kcf32
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeShropshire Wildlife Trust
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Red Tailed Bumble 1
Red Tailed Bumble 2a
Dothill 095
Description:

A red-tailed bumble bee going about its business in amongst the Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). Sorry about the blurred image but it is tricky photographing a bee in flight.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus (Melanobombus) lapidarius) interacts

Comments

Martin Harvey's picture

Bumblebee

It's difficult to entirely rule out Bombus ruderarius from the photos, but the shape and colours, as well as the location, make B. lapidarius more likely I think.

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Entomologist and biological recorder

kcf32's picture

Bumblebee

Martin

Thank you for pointing out that it may be Bombus ruderarius. This had not occured to me as my insect guide does not include it. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing! I note on further investigation that the pollen sacks (which I think are the bulges on the hind legs) are black on Bombus lapidarius but oragnge on Bombus ruderarius. If the pollen sacks are where I think they are they appear to be black on one of the photographs.

Keith

Martin Harvey's picture

comparison

For comparison, see the observation of Bombus ruderarius that Matt Smith has recently posted:
http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/14516

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Entomologist and biological recorder

kcf32's picture

comparison

Thanks

Keith

Matt Smith's picture

From a "jiz" point of view,

From a "jiz" point of view, my first impression would be this is indeed a fresh Bombus lapidarius worker, with the tail a nice bright scarlet.

Comparatively, fresh Bombus ruderarius workers are usually a bit smaller and the tail is is more orange-red than scarlet. Bombus ruderarius is much more scarce then B.lapidarius and has been given BAP status in the last review.

The most obvious character separating the two species is the colour of the pollen baskets on the hind legs, in B.lapidarius they are black, and in B.ruderarius they are red.

Beware of sun-bleached or faded B.lapidarius workers when checking, in high summer the sunshine can fade the hair colours so that B.lapidarius workers can look almost chocloate brown with a ginger tail. The pollen baskets in these individuals also fade, and the outer portions can look pale brown or slightly ginger. In this instance, look at the colour at the base of the pollen basket hairs, here the hairs are thicker and fade less. Bombus lapidarius will still have black at the base of the hairs, no matter how badly faded.

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