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Just seen this one after I commented on your other cuckoo bee at:
How are you distinguishing these two species? I've spent quite a lot of time peering at them under microscopes and still not being sure which one I was looking at! But maybe I'm missing something.
Entomologist and biological recorder
I'm a novice in this area, having only looked at bees for the first time last year. My decision making is at the macro rather than the micro level, based on comments in the Edwards & Jenner Field Guide to the Bumblebees of GB&I.
Bohemicus " ....tail white with small, mid-yellow side patches at the junction with the black ..."
Vestalis " ....tail white with clear, dark yellow side patches at the junction with the black ..."
So it's solely the difference between the size of and colour intensity of these yellow patches in the photos which I used as the basis for differentiation. Larger and brighter in vestalis and much smaller and paler in bohemicus.
I happily stand to be corrected if these characteristics are considered insufficient for species differentiation by those with more experience than I have!
I don't know these species well enough to make a final judgement, and wouldn't dispute what's said in the Edwards and Jenner book, but I'm just generally cautious about using relatively small differences in hair colour to distinguish bumblebees, which can be variable and also colours can fade with age. Let's see if anyone else can offer further opinions.
I accept your comments and realise that the identities may not be as clear as I initially thought. The reason I posted both photos was to find out whether other people agreed with the id's I'd made, so hopefully those with more experience may resolve this for us!
Lat/Lng: 51.7, -2.6
OS grid ref: SO6208