Monday, 10 May 2010

Trouble With ID





I found this bee at YSP and was excited as it looked unlike the others i've found so far. I took lots of shots and took a note of its markings then tried to find out from the key in my book what it might be.
So, I decided it might be a Bombus sylvestris (Four-coloured Cuckoo-bee), but sent the images to a bee chap called Brian to see what he thought. This is his reply:

"Right, I'm going with Bombus bohemicus (Gypsy Cuckoo-bee) which has lost tail hairs and now has a blank patch. This is cos in the first photo there are two pretty faint yellow stripes which sylvestris wouldn't have. Actually i'll go back to the start:

It's obviously a cuckoo cos of the yellow stripe at the top of the thorax and the white bum.

You can probably see the lack of corbiculum cos your photos are v. good.

There are two faint yellow stripes at the top of the abdomen on the first photo, suggesting
vestalis or bohemicus. I've seen plenty of vestalis and the yellow stripes are loads bigger, so i'd hazard a guess at bohemicus.
The second photo shows the bum with no hairs, not black hairs (but i'm not sure from the Edwards and Jenner if sylvestris does have black hairs).

I think that by counting the abdominal sections between pics 2 and 3 you can count 7, which would make it male, so a sylvestris would normally have a ginger tail (but this one has no hair, so that's no help!)
The book says sylvestris has its last abdominal section tightly curled around - i've no idea what that looks like, but thought i'd throw it into the mix.

(I've never seen a bohemicus, so either sylvestris or bohemicus would be really cool)"


He also suggested i send the images to BWARS - Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society, but i had trouble signing up to a Yahoo account to be able to put them on the forum - but i'll try again this week. And then we can perhaps confirm what the bee is.

As it goes, i'm still trying to see the yellow stripes - plus i had to look the word corbiculum* up before i could agree (which i don't know whether i do or not!)


*In entomology, a smooth or concave space, fringed with stiff hairs, on the inner side of the tibia or basal joint of the tarsus of a bee. Clear now?

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