Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Bombus sonorus - Sonoran Bumble Bee

Bombus sonorus? - Bombus sonorus Bombus sonorus? - Bombus sonorus Bumble or Carpenter Bee? - Bombus sonorus - female Sonoran  Bumble Bee - Bombus sonorus - female Sonoran Bumble Bee - Bombus sonorus Chaparral Bombus - Bombus sonorus Yellow Bumble bee - Bombus sonorus - male Bumblebee - Bombus sonorus
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 Thoracobombus)
Species sonorus (Sonoran Bumble Bee)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Often treated as a subspecies of Bombus pensylvanicus
Explanation of Names
Bombus sonorus Say, 1837
Size
Large
Identification
Similar to the very closely related pensylvanicus, but in sonorus the dorsum of the thorax is yellow posteriorly and there is a distinct black interalar band, whereas in typical pensylvanicus the dorsum of the thorax is largely or entirely black posteriorly. Unlike B. fervidus T4 is black.
Range
sw US from CA-TX, north to southern NV and southwestern UT; south to southern Mexico. Widespread in southern California but more local in northern California where best known from the Central Valley and adjacent valleys in the foothill zone (see below for status). The common bumble bee of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.
Habitat
Mostly low elevations including deserts and cultivated valleys.
Season
Feb-Oct (BG data)
Food
Strongly associated with sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) but also visits many other plants, notably nightshades (Solanum) and globe mallows (Sphaeralcea). The Hosts section of its Discover Life species page lists known floral associations based on specimen records and images.
Remarks
Has declined severely in its northern California range and no longer detected at sites where it was abundant in the 1990s. Still regularly found in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts but number vary greatly between years depending, reflecting in part availability of its favorite host plants whose bloom depends on irregular rainfall. Texas Parks & Wildlife considers this to be a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN) (1)
Print References
Warriner, M.D. (In press). Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of Texas: historical distributions. Southwestern Naturalist.
Internet References
Info - Map - Discover Life