British Insects: Bumblebees and Cuckoo-bees


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Bombus cullumanus (Kirby)

Subgenus. Subgenus Cullumanobombus.

Biology. Social insects forming organized communities; the larvae feeding on pollen and nectar gathered and prepared by the adult females.

Adult morphology. Females and workers similar in appearance, the males somewhat different. Adults about 14–15 mm long. Face relatively short; at least as wide as long, or wider. The facial hairs of males pale; vertex black haired. The facial hairs of females black; vertex black haired. The mandibles of the females round-ended, not oblique; females with no posterior tooth. Antennae of the male with the third segment shorter than the fifth (the 5th about three-quarters as long as the 3rd and 4th together). Thorax banded (black with a fairly broad pale anterior band); black posteriorly, with a pale anterior band only; the light thoracic hairs yellowish grey, or gingerish yellow, or mid-yellow. The outer surface of the hind tibiae of females with a conspicuous ‘pollen basket’, in the form of an elongate, shiny, hairless, area framed by stout hairs; pollen basket framed by black hairs. The hind tibiae of the males having a fringe of long hairs along the outer margin. Mid basitarsus of females with the distal-posterior margin broadly rounded to narrow, but if pointed forming an angle of more than 45 degrees, not projected into a tooth or spine. Outer surface of the female hind basitarsus shining black, with few hairs. Scutellum of males pale- or predominantly pale-haired.

The abdomen black, with a yellowish bar across the middle and a reddish tail. Abdomen conspicuously patterned; with a contrasting tail. The tail orange, or orange-red, or ginger. Abdomen conspicuously banded between the anterior of the tail and the thorax. The black abdominal band immediately anterior to the tail of females narrow, representing only the third segment.

Male genitalia. The sagittae rather straight to curved inwards around the spatha; smooth to the base, neither serrate nor dentate nor hooked externally. The ends of the claspers not expanded (and not fringed); dark and horny; conspicuously emarginate and toothed to not or only slightly emarginate, without teeth (not fringed); with the volsella readily visible at their ends.

British representation. Recorded from England. Formerly with scattered records from chalkland habitats in southern England, last recorded in 1941 and now supposedly extinct there.

General comments. Females resembling B. pratorum in appearance but with the black abdominal band anterior to the tail narrower (confined to the third tergite), males more like those of B. lapidarius.

Illustrations. • British Bombus spp. (2): Saunders.

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Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: Bumblebees and Cuckoobees. Version: 1st January 2012.’.