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Species Bombus variabilis - Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee

Bombus (Psythirus) insularis? - Bombus variabilis - female Bombus variabilis Q - Bombus variabilis - female Bombus variabilis Q - Bombus variabilis - female Bombus variabilis Q - Bombus variabilis - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily Apinae (Honey, Bumble, Long-horned, Orchid, and Digger Bees)
Tribe Bombini (Bumble Bees)
Genus Bombus (Bumble Bees)
No Taxon (Subgenus Psithyrus)
Species variabilis (Variable Cuckoo Bumble Bee)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Populations in Mexico and the sw US may pertain to a different species or subspecies for which the name intrudens is available
Explanation of Names
Bombus variabilis (Cresson, 1872)
Size
Female: 17.5-19 mm. Male: 14.5-17 mm
Identification
Similar to Bombus insularis but with more extensive black hairs. Males of the southwestern population, e.g, those from southern Arizona, can be difficult to separate.
Range
e NA (TX-FL-NH-ND) / QC / Mex. to Honduras - Map - Discover Life
Season
June to November, with earlier records in Florida
Food
A social parasite of Bombus pensylvanicus sensu lato (eastern populations of Bombus variabilis sensu lato parasitize Bombus pensylvanicus whereas southwestern populations parasitize Bombus sonorus). Both sexes regularly visit flowers for nectar. The Hosts section of its Discover Life species page lists known floral associations based on specimen records.
Remarks
Although Bombus pensylvanicus persists in relatively good numbers in its core range, its social parasite B. variabilis has evidently declined severely and there are few recent records. Texas Parks & Wildlife considers this to be a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN) (1)
Internet References