British Insects: Bumblebees and Cuckoo-bees

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Bombus jonellus (Kirby)

Subspecies jonellus s. str., monapiae Kruseman, hebridensis Wild, vogtii Richards (nivalis misident., atrocorbicularis Vogt).

Subgenus. Subgenus Pyrobombus.

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

Adult morphology. Adult queens, workers and males all similar appearance, or females and workers similar in appearance, the males somewhat different (the males more slender, the anterior abdominal pale band indistinct or lacking). Adults about 11–17 mm long (queens about 16 mm, workers and males 12mm). The ocello-ocular area of females mostly shining and unpunctured, except for sparse puncturing along the inner margin of the compound eye. Face relatively short; at least as wide as long, or wider. The facial hairs of males yellow; vertex yellow 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 considerably longer than the fourth. Thorax not predominantly ginger-haired; banded (blackish, with orange-yellow anterior and posterior bands); black across the middle, with pale anterior and posterior bands; the light thoracic hairs pale mid-yellow, or yellowish grey, or gingerish yellow, or orange-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. 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. Scutellum of females at least partly pale-haired. Scutellum of males pale- or predominantly pale-haired.

The abdomen anteriorly orange-yellow (less conspicuously so in the male), medianly blackish (more broadly so in the male), white-tailed. Abdomen conspicuously patterned; with a contrasting tail. The tail white to greyish white. Abdomen conspicuously banded between the anterior of the tail and the thorax, or without conspicuous banding between the anterior of the tail and the thorax (in some males). Sternite 6 of females with a median keel.

Male genitalia. The sagittae rather straight to curved inwards around the spatha; smooth to the base, neither serrate nor dentate nor hooked externally; apices apically turned inwards and conspicuously sickle-shaped. The ends of the claspers not expanded; dark and horny; not or only slightly emarginate, without teeth; with the volsella inconspicuous (fairly).

British representation. Recorded from England, Wales, Mainland Scotland, Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland, and Ireland. Widespread throughout the British Isles. The adults abroad during March to September (females), or May to October (males). Mainly heaths and moorlands in the north, also on calcareous grasslands and in gardens in the south.

Illustrations. • British Bombus spp. (2): Saunders. • Male genital capsules of Bombus and Psithyrus.


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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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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