Jane McWeeny's picture

Bombus Hypnorum ?male + queen?

Observed: 31st May 2012 By: Jane McWeenyJane McWeeny’s reputation in Invertebrates
tree bumble bee rides another 31.5.12

The racket made by these 2 bees was sufficient to attract my attention from indoors. I initially thought the bombus hypnorum was attacking a bee of another species - three times its size and differently marked, with a narrow yellow stripe across its upper thorax - but as they settled on a plant in a classic mating position I wondered whether this could be the queen of the new colony?
They seemed oblivious to me, and I was able to shoot video clips from about 20cm.(felt uncomfortably voyeuristic!)before they flew off still clamped together.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Syrphus's picture

This is the second deviant

This is the second deviant hypnorum post I have looked at in the past couple of minutes! Here is a male hypnorum mating with a queen terrestris!



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

Jane McWeeny's picture

deviant hypnorum + queen terrestris

Thank you for this information.
Looking at your profile, I can see you have a serious long-term interest in bees. Have you encountered this kind of deviant behaviour before? what did the other post involve, that you saw just before mine? What do you think are the implications?....might I see hybrid bees?
Actually, I think I may have seen one today in my local urban nature reserve, St Nicholas Fields....it was about 20mm long, orange-brown thorax like hypnorum, and multi-striped yellow and black abdomen. We caught it in a jar, and it definitely did not match any picture in the centre's bee identification guide. Sadly could not get a decent photo.
We also saw several normal hypnorum, in spite of dire weather, and no other bees.
I have noticed that the colony in my garden are not deterred by rain, and may thus be cleaning up on pollen and nectar supplies whilst other bees are sheltering.

Syrphus's picture

Yes, I have spent rather a

Yes, I have spent rather a long time looking at bees. But I have rarely seen mating in bumbles - they seem to be rather coy! - and never an interspecific mating. These however are not uncommon, and even on iSpot there are other examples involving other species. It is not going to result in hybrid bees, though - hypnorum and terrestris are quite distantly related among bumbles. The male is just mounted but not connected. Your description of today's bee sounds like maybe a normal carder bee (pascuorum), which are rather variable.

The other post I mentioned involved 2 males and a female hypnorum, on which I commented just minutes before seeing yours - http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/266469.

There is a page on hypnorum at http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=content/bombus-hypnorum-mapping-project where you can see results and report new records.

Hope this helps.



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

The Reremouse's picture

That is exactly what i

That is exactly what i thought~! is this normal??