markwilson's picture

Buff tailed bumblebee

Observed: 28th April 2013 By: markwilsonmarkwilson’s reputation in Invertebratesmarkwilson’s reputation in Invertebratesmarkwilson’s reputation in Invertebratesmarkwilson’s reputation in Invertebrates
Bombus terrestris
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Buff-Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus (Bombus) terrestris) interacts


Mydaea's picture

B. lucorum group, not

B. lucorum group, not terrestris.

markwilson's picture

key features

Could you please tell me the key features that would separate these two.



Mydaea's picture

B. terrestris queens and

B. terrestris queens and males usually have a clearly brown tail and a very variable narrow dark brownish-yellow collar. B. lucorum group (consisting of an unknown number of species with unknown field features) never has a brown tail and has a broad paler yellow collar. Workers of both are often difficult to separate, but terrestris frequently has a brown line (much more obvious that the one mentioned by TaraH) at the base of the tail, often has an obviously brown tail, and often has a +- all white tail. The continental terrestris, which are in the wild in England after escapes from colonies bought in for pollination have a white tail. I see nothing in this bee that would suggest terrestris rather than lucorum group.

markwilson's picture


Thanks - very much a beeginner - really a botanist

TaraH's picture

Is it not B. terrestris? I

Is it not B. terrestris? I thought the darker yellow rather than bright lemon yellow was indicative of B. terrestris rather than B. lucorum and it does seem as if there may be a very faint line of buff coloured hairs at the top of the white tail again indicative of B. lucorum.

Mydaea's picture

It is not always possible to

It is not always possible to distinguish these species even in the hand. The tail is too white for typical terrestris, and the yellow too pale. It can never be identified with 100% confidence from this image, but if I had to choose it would be lucorum group.

eucera's picture

lucorum group

I think Mydaea is probably right and that this is one of the B. lucorum group. It seems to have a bit of a dark "nick" in the yellow collar (on the shoulders) which might suggest B. cryptarum. However, as is pointed ouit above, these characters are subtle (at best) and unreliable

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