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Bombus sandersoni Franklin, 1913


Scientific Name: Bombus sandersoni Franklin, 1913

Common Name: Sanderson\\\'s Bumble Bee


Bombus (Bombus) vagans sandersoni Franklin, 1913: 353 [♀].

     Lectotype , designated by Frison (1929: 116). USA, New Hampshire, Durham, W. and F. 3128 [ANSP no. 10360].


Taxonomic notes: The ♂ was discussed by Frison (1929: 114), but described in full by Mitchell (1962: ).

Though Cresson (1928: 70) mentioned the same specimen that was selected the following year as a lectotype by Frison (1929: 116), Frison is here given credit for specifying the lectotype designation; Cresson’s (1928) mention was part of a review of type material at ANSP.

Frison (1929: 114) discussed the male, and seemingly identified it correctly, though believed that Franklin’s taxon should be considered a subspecies of Bombus frigidus Smith, 1854, not B. vagans Smith, 1854. He also mentioned the tufts of hair on the basal flagellar segment of the male that is a prominent in Bombus mixtus Cresson, 1878, but suggested that it was shared with B. frigidus (including Bombus couperi Cresson, 1878), and what he recognized as the male of B. frigidus sandersoni. Burks (1951: 1252) subsequently followed this classification in treating this taxon as a subspecies of B. frigidus. Mitchell (1962: 534) was the first to recognize B. sandersoni as a valid species. Plowright and Pallett (1978) tentatively supported Mitchell (1962) based on morphometric analysis of wing venation, though found that B. couperi [= B. frigidus] represented an intermediate between B. frigidus and B. sandersoni and suggested that the latter may prove to be a variant of the former. More recently, Milam et al. (2020) also supported the recognition of B. sandersoni as a distinct species from B. vagans (and B. perplexus Cresson, 1863) based on analysis of a malar length to width ratio, and the ration of the malar length to the lengths of flagellar segments 1 and 3, plus DNA barcoding. However, that paper aimed to increase the likelihood of identifying these three species correctly in eastern North America and did not address the morphological and molecular similaities between B. sandersoni and B. mixtus, both species with males that share the pubescent basal flagellar segment (Williams et al. 2014). In addition, both species share the same DNA Barcode BIN, and these taxa cannot be reliably distinguished by this means.

DNA Barcode Index Number (BIN): BOLD:AAB1091

This BIN is shared with Bombus mixtus Cresson, 1878.

Biology: Franklin (1913: 354) described the nest, suggesting that it will nest in old mouse dens of dried grass in the hollow trunks of trees (a Mountain Ash in this case).

Distribution in Canada: Franklin 1913 [Canada, AB, SK, ON, QC]; Mitchell 1962 [ON to NF]; Judd 1966 [ON]; Lavery and Harder 1988 [ON, QC, NB, NS, PE]; Sheffield et al. 2003, 2009 [NS], 2014 [SK, MB]; Williams et al. 2014 [BC, MB, ON, QC, NB, PE, NS, LB, NF]; Brooks and Nocera 2020 [NB]; Hicks and Sheffield 2021 [LB]; Nelson et al. 2021 [AB]; Gibbs et al. 2023 [MB]



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].

Sheffield CS, Hebert PD, Kevan PG, Packer L (2009) DNA barcoding a regional bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) fauna and its potential for ecological studies. Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 196-207.

Sheffield CS, Kevan PG, Smith RF, Rigby SM, Rogers RE (2003) Bee species of Nova Scotia, Canada, with new records and notes on bionomics and floral relations (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 76(2): 357-384.

Gibbs J, Hanuschuk E, Miller R, Dubois M, Martini M, Robinson S, Nakagawa P, Sheffield CS, Onuferko T (2023) A checklist of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 155: E3.

Cresson ET (1928) The types of Hymenoptera in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia other than those of Ezra T. Cresson. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 5: 1-90.

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.

Burks BD (1951) Tribe Bombini. In: Muesebeck CF, Krombein KV, Townes HK (Eds) Hymenoptera of America north of Mexico Synoptic Catalog. 2. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Monograph, Washington. Pp. 1247-1255.

Judd WW (1966) Studies of the Byron Bog in southwestern Ontario. XXVII. Insects associated with flowering blueberry, Vaccinium atrococcum (Gray) Heller. The Canadian Field Naturalist 80(4): 242-244.

Hicks B, Sheffield C (2021) Native bees (Hymenoptera; Apoidea) collected from Labrador, Canada. Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society 17: 20-24.

Franklin HJ (1913a) The Bombidae of the New World. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 38(3/4): 177-486.

Nelson CJ, Frost CM, Nielsen SE (2021) Narrow anthropogenic linear corridors increase the abundance, diversity, and movement of bees in boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 489: 119044

Plowright RC, Pallett MJ (1978) A morphometric study of the taxonomic status of Bombus sandersoni (Hymenoptera: Apidae). The Canadian Entomologist 110(6): 647-654.

Milam J, Johnson DE, Andersen JC, Fassler AB, Narango DL, Elkinton JS (2020) Validating morphometrics with DNA barcoding to reliably separate three cryptic species of Bombus Cresson (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Insects 11(10): 669.

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

Crop Preference: Not Available
Non Crop Preference: Not Available

Distribution: British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon
Ecozone: Atlantic Maritime, Boreal Shield, Hudson Plains, Mixwood Plains, Prairie