Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee Bombus variabilis (Cresson, 1872)  
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Arthropoda   >   Class Insecta   >   Order Hymenoptera   >   Family Apidae   >   Genus Bombus   

Status:

Bombus variabilis is a bee that parasitizes B. pensylvanicus. It is very hard to find in the state now and it is possible there are no recent records at all. This is the one and only specimen (from the 1970s) from Maryland. "B. pensylvanicus went through a crunch a while back and populations dropped. The actual extent of drop and recovery (or not) is unknown, but they are around enough that they are common in my backyard in Maryland (why? Because it is full of big composites like thistle). So, has B. variabilis to be never seen again? Hard to say since it wasn't common to begin with and may have been (probably) been wacked by the same bad pathogens as its hosts, but then again, many uncommon bees are hiding in plain sight as there are few people looking. So, I am going to put a bet out that this species isn't gone, but am not going to be putting out that much money on it." (S. Droege, pers. comm.)

Relationships:

Parasitizes B. pensylvanicus.

There are 5 records in the project database.

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A male Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (3/23/2019). Image processed by Brooke Goggins. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

A male Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (3/23/2019). Image processed by Brooke Goggins. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

A male Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (3/23/2019). Image processed by Brooke Goggins. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

A male Bombus variabilis in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (8/28/2012). This nest parasite was listed by USGS as now being extremely rare. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

A male Bombus variabilis in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (8/28/2012). Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

A male Bombus variabilis in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (8/28/2012). Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)


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