Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Bombus auricomus - Black-and-gold Bumble Bee

Bumblebee - Bombus auricomus - male Bombus, dorsal - Bombus auricomus - female Bombus auricomus? - Bombus auricomus Bee - Bombus auricomus Bumble bee - Bombus auricomus Bee on Wild Bergamot - Bombus auricomus Black-and-gold Bumble Bee - Bombus auricomus - male Bombus auricomus queen - Bombus auricomus - 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, Longhorn, Orchid, and Digger Bees)
Tribe Bombini (Bumble Bees)
Genus Bombus (Bumble Bees)
No Taxon (Subgenus Bombias)
Species auricomus (Black-and-gold Bumble Bee)
Other Common Names
Often cited as Black and Gold Bumble Bee, but use of a hyphen is generally preferred when citing common names (see AOU and BOU bird checklists, e.g., Black-and-white Warbler).
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
some workers treat B. nevadensis and B. auricomus as conspecific, but most recent sources treat them separately (discussion)
Explanation of Names
Bombus auricomus (Robertson 1903)
auricomus = 'with golden hair'
Size
Large: queen 20-25 mm, male 17-20 mm, worker 18-20 mm
Identification
Mullerian mimic of B. pensylvanicus. Note the following:
ocelli low on face
yellow hairs on vertex
yellow hairs on scutellum (thin yellow posterior thoracic band)
more yellow on scutellum and more black on T1 than pensylvanicus

Males with large eyes strongly convergent above and modified antennae.

This species is variable in hair color with dark females readily confused with B. pensylvanicus and pale ones with B. nevadensis.
Range
North America east of the Rocky Mountains (map). Widely distributed in the eastern USA but no records from northern New England (unrecorded from ME, VT, and also RI) or from lowlands of the southeastern coastal plain (no confirmed records from SC, though likely occurs there at higher elevations, or from MS and FL. Recorded from all central states except LA and in eastern MT, WY, and CO (replaced in the west of those states by B. nevadensis). In Canada restricted to the south where known from southern Ontario. It may occur west at least to Manitoba, but its distributional limits to the west has been obscured by convergence in color pattern with B. nevadensis). Distributional summary by John S. Ascher (Feb 2014).
Habitat
Favors prairies and grasslands and rarely found in extensive forests.
Season
A late-emerging species
Remarks
Has likely declined in northeastern North America due in part to regrowth of forests and decrease in grassland habitat
Internet References