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Bee to ID please. - Bombus occidentalis - female

Bee to ID please. - Bombus occidentalis - Female
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
July 9, 2005
This was a very big bee, looked nearly twice the size of the others. It was the only one that looked like this and the size of it was what caught my eye. It had white on its back end.

Images of this individual: tag all
Bee to ID please. - Bombus occidentalis - female Bee to ID please. - Bombus occidentalis - female



Moved from Yellowbanded Bumble Bee to subspecies page as per comments by John Ascher here and links on Info page.

Moved to species page for the following reasons:
1. Many specialists including Robbin Thorp refer to retain occidentalis as a species separate from terricola.

2. The Williams reference cited actually has a "?" in front of "occidentalis" so it is quite clear that this synonymy was considered doubtful or equivocal at that time.

3. Subsequent DNA studies such as Cameron, S. A., Hines, H. M., and P. H. Williams. 2007. A comprehensive phylogeny of the bumble bees (Bombus). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 91: 161-188, need to be considered.

4. Many taxonomists now prefer to minimize use of subspecies and prefer to call diagnosable taxa species.

Thus there is no consensus that occidentalis should be a mere subspecies, or that it is useful to recognize subspecies, and at present occidentalis is widely recognized as a species.

Western bumble bee.
This is a worker of the western bumble bee, Bombus occidentalis. The white "tail" is distinctive.

western bumblebee population declining?
This species has now completely disapeared from my neighborhood in the Seattle Area.About 35 years ago is was relatively common; the past few years I have not seen any bees at all.It`s a surface nesting species which obviously is not adapting as well to an urban setting as some other species such as b. vosnesenskii, which builds nests in old rat burrows, which are plentiful in the city.

nesting habits may not be the reason for its decline
Please read this:

White 'Tail'?
I just moved 4 images to B. occidentalis. The photos show a bee that has been identified as a Queen in the species B. terricola (Kirby, 1837), a.k.a. B. occidentalis. The B. occidentalis photos shown on the University of Georgia's "Discover Life" photos, do not seem to show a white 'tail' for the B. occidentalis bees, althought a small bit of yellow can be seen. This yellow can also be seen on my specimen. When you say "White tail" are you referring to this spot of yellow? Do you think that both this bee and my specimen are B. occidentalis?

Bee ID
Thank you Eric. I knew I could rely on you for ID.

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