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Bombus fervidus californicus - Bombus californicus - female

Bombus fervidus californicus - Bombus californicus - Female
Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
May 19, 2007
Size: 18mm
I first thought this was B. vosn*esen*skii, but the face isn't yellow. It was on Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. It was a larger bee with those yellow dorsal spots just behind the attachment of the wings. Thank you.

Images of this individual: tag all
Bombus fervidus californicus - Bombus californicus - female Bombus fervidus californicus - Bombus californicus - female

Moved from Golden Northern Bumble Bee.
If there was no page for this species it should have been left at genus level until a page was created. There are enough mistakes already in the guide.

this was not necessarily a mistake
as there is genuine controversy about whether californicus is a full species or merely a subspecies or color variety of fervidus. More DNA data may be needed to resolve this question.

I added a note to the info page. In the meantime, do we leave them as is or move them again?

Someone - I forget who - told us where to put these.
Timely provision of a new page would have eliminated this particular problem.

I am puzzled
Why is this in B. fervidus after John and Domingo said that it was B. californicus?
Shouldn't it be moved?

Puzzle solved.
At the time of this post, here was the best place for it for a couple of reasons. First, there was controversy over the name. Also, as I've explained elsewhere, there was no page for B. californicus. (See also Dr. Ascher's comment above.)

I think this and Cheryl's other related posts should be moved. To me, there's a major difference in the appearance of the two species in the images now at Bug Guide, unless you consider the uncommon golden B. calfornicus from William Ericson.

"a major difference in the appearance"
This does not suffice to delimit species

Thanks for the clarification
I'm beginning to understand species variation and appreciate your reinforcement.

Moved from Bumble Bees.

Just a comment: I guess californicus and fervidus are being treated as the same species. I don't know what the distinction between the two is, but apparently they are pretty similar species.

Maybe Bombus californicus...
...which looks like vosnesenskii with a black head, and sometimes has those yellow markings near where the wings attach.

I agree, this looks like B. californicus
a guide page seems appropriate

many californicus have far more yellow than do most individuals from California

What about B. fernaldae...
After looking at the image keys at Bumble Bees of the World at,
I then took the possibilities I came up with to the Discover Life site and looked at the ranges of the various Bombus that were possibilities and came up with B. fernaldae. See
I was looking at the black "face", yellow "shoulders" and generally black abdomen (I can't remember if there were or weren't yellowish band(s) on the end of the abdomen).

I don't think so.
B. fernaldae is a "cuckoo" species that lays its eggs in the nests of other, more industrious species of bumblebees; the workers of the host species raise the larvae. Cuckoo species do not have their hind legs modified to carry pollen, but the bee in the photo has modified hind legs and is carrying pollen.

I didn't know that. I'll think B. californicus, then. I'll, in the meantime, see if anyone else chimes in on this ID before I try to ask for a guide page.
Thank you very much.

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