Friday, 20 March 2009

Definite signs of spring

I was out looking for hoverflies - unsuccessfully, as it turned out - when this queen Bumblebee flew over my head and immediately started to rummage in the hedge base, looking for a nesting site:

I rattled off a few shots and a closer look reveals her to be a queen Bombus cryptarum - a recent segregate from Bombus lucorum. The notch in the yellow collar is the clue:

I have been watching the parasitic bumblebee Bombus bohemicus over the last couple of years. This is known to be a parasite of Bombus lucorum, but I wonder if it's also a parasite of Bombus cryptarum, which appears to be the dominant white-tailed species in this location.


Gill said...

Yikes! I'd never have spotted that - all white-bummed bumbles go down as B. lucorum in my book - do you think we'll get cryptarum here in Ryedale?

Lots of bumbles about, including what I think are terrestris and one possible pratorum - and I saw a comma butterfly in the garden at lunchtime.

Stuart said...

>I'd never have spotted that

You would if you'd been looking for it ;)

>do you think we'll get cryptarum here in Ryedale?

It appears to be a northern species, with most records in the NBN being in Scotland, although the distribution map does show one dot in London.

Keep taking shots of your "B. lucorum" and check the won't see it with the naked eye.

I saw one B. terrestris queen today.