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Bombus auricomus (Robertson, 1903)


Scientific Name: Bombus auricomus (Robertson, 1903)

Common Name: Black and Gold Bumble Bee


Bombias auricomus Robertson, 1903: 176 [♀, ♂].

     Lectotype ♀ (mounted in copula with a conspecific ♂), designated by Milliron (1971: 78). USA, Illinois, Carlinville, 19 July 1897, by C. Robertson [INHS, Robertson no. 19944].

Bombus nevadensis duricomus Mitchell, 1962: 151. Lapsus for Bombus nevadensis auricomus Robertson, 1903, in key only.


Taxonomic notes: Bombias auricomus Robertson, 1903 is the type species for the subgenus Bombias Robertson, 1903.

Milliron (1971: 78) indicated that the pin of the lectotype ♀ bears a Robertson's red "type" label and indicated that Robertson intended the ♂ of the pair to be the type, indicating that the genus Bombias Robertson, 1903 was established on the basis of the ♂ of B. auricomus, though there is no indication of this in the original work, as the name only appears in the key, the ♀ appearing first (Robertson 1903: 176-177). Milliron (1971: 78) indicated that the ♀ was selected as the lectotype “in conformity” with Cresson’s lectotype of B. nevadensis Cresson, 1874 (Cresson 1916: 125), which Milliron believed was conspecific, albiet as a subspecies.

Bombus auricomus (Robertson, 1903) has been treated as a subspecies of B. nevadensis (e.g., ), though Scholl et al. (1992) used enzyme electrophoretic data to confirm that they were separate species, without integradation in areas where they co-occurred.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAI8712

Biology: Frison (1917, 1918) provided a detailed study of the life history and nesting biolgy of this species

Distribution in Canada: Franklin 1913 [ON]; Pengelly 1953 [ON]; Laverty and Harder 1988 [ON]; Sheffield et al. 2014 [AB, SK]; Williams et al. 2014 [ON].

Records of B. auricomus in Canada outside of southern ON include Buckell (1951: 12) from BC (Centurian, Departure Bay), and AB and SK (Sheffield et al. 2014, based on online resoureces), are now thought to represent darker forms of Bombus nevadensis Cresson, 1874. Buckell (1951: 12) examined specimens from Centurian, in the Peace River district in the northeast (latitude 56°N); though most recent specimens examined from this area of the province are indeed colour patterned like B. auricomus, they are mophologically consistent with B. nevadensis (as per Williams 1998: 100; Williams et al. 2014: 180).


Robertson C (1903) Synopsis of Megachilidae and Bombinae. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 29: 163-178.

Mitchell TB (1962) Bees of the Eastern United States. Volume 2. North Carolina Agricultural Experimental Station Technical Bulletin 152, Raleigh, 557 pp.

Sheffield CS, Frier SD, Dumesh D (2014) The bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea, Apiformes) of the Prairies Ecozone, with comparisons to other grasslands of Canada. In: Giberson DJ, Cárcamo HA (Eds) Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. 4. Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, 479 pp. [ISBN 978-0-9689321-7-9].

Cresson ET (1916) The Cresson types of Hymenoptera. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 1: 1-141.

Williams PH, Thorp RW, Richardson LL, Colla SR (2014) Bumble Bees of North America. An Identification Guide. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 208 pp.

Pengelly DH (1954) Alfalfa pollination in southern Ontario. Annual Report of the Entomological Society of Ontario 84: 101-118.

Scholl A, Thorp RW, Owen RE, Obrecht E (1992) Specific distinctiveness of Bombus nevadensis Cresson and B. auricomus (Robertson) (Hymenoptera: Apidae): enzyme electrophoretic data. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 65(2): 134-140.

Frison TH (1917) Notes on Bombidae, and on life history of Bombus auricomus Robt. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 10(3): 277-286.

Frison TH (1918) Additional notes on the life history of Bombus auricomus Robt. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 11(1): 43-48.

Sociality: Eusocial
Nesting: Ground
Pollen Specialization: Polylectic
Wintering Stage: Mated Female

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: Ontario
Ecozone: Mixwood Plains

Distribution Map