Colour patterns, distribution and food plants of the Asian bumblebee Bombus bicoloratus (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
- 109 Downloads
Bombus bicoloratus is an important pollinator of wild flowers in the oriental region. We confirmed a total of 451 specimens of B. bicoloratus from China based on DNA sequences from mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) barcodes. Bombus bicoloratus is distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of southern China. This species exhibits a striking intraspecific colour-pattern polymorphism both in females and males. The distribution frequency of the different colour patterns is heavily skewed, with 50.9% of the workers sharing the same colour pattern that predominates in most locations. Workers from the islands of Hainan and Taiwan possess a very distinct colour pattern, and its spatial distribution is correlated with the climate factor irradiance. Bombus bicoloratus has been recorded to collect nectar and pollen from 14 plant families, indicating that this species is polylectic. This study will be helpful for recognising bumblebee species with variable colour patterns, especially B. bicoloratus, in Asia.
KeywordsBombus bicoloratus Colour pattern COI Distribution Food plants
We are grateful to Cheng Liang, Yiheng Qin, Liping Yao, Zongwen Hu, Deqin Zong, Huanxian Lu, Hongmu Zhao, Xuewen Zhang, Zhiyong Zhao, Dongxu Zhao, Jianrong Dai, Jiamin Qin, Qun Luo, Youping Yang, Fanggui Xi, Wenhua Luo, Duansheng Wang, Jun Gao, Jun Guo, Yaning Zhang, Xinyu Liu, Zhengying Miao, Aiping Han, Zhiyong Zhou, Xiaolong Yuan, Huanli Xu and Yanjie Liu for their help in collecting bumblebees. We thank Dr. Paul H. Williams for his help in identifying the specimens to species and Yumei Zhang for her help in DNA barcoding. We also thank Dr. Lei Meng of China Agricultural University for her assistance in identifying the food plants.
J.A. conceived this research. G.D., S.Z., M.N. and J.H. performed the experiments and the analyses. G.D. wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This work was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (31672500) and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (CAAS-ASTIP-2015-IAR).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Carolan, J.C., Murray, T.E., Fitzpatrick, Ú., Crossley, J., Schmidt, H., Cederberg, B., Mcnally, L., Paxton, R.J., Williams, P.H., Brown, M.J.F. (2012) Colour patterns do not diagnose species: quantitative evaluation of a DNA barcoded cryptic bumblebee complex. PLoS One 7(1): e29251.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Frison, T.H. (1934) Records and descriptions of Bremus and Psithyrus from Formosa and the Asiatic mainland. Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Formosa 24: 150–185.Google Scholar
- Hall, T.A. (1999) BioEdit : a user-friendly biological sequence alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT, in: Series, N.A.S. (Ed.), Nucl. Acids. Symp. Ser. 41: 95–98.Google Scholar
- Hammer, Ø., Harper, D.A., Ryan, P.D. (2001) Past: paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeontol. Electron. 4(1): 1–9.Google Scholar
- Hebert, P.D.N., Ratnasingham, S., deWaard, J.R. (2003) Barcoding animal life: cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 divergences among closely related species. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 270 (Suppl): S96–99.Google Scholar
- Ho, K.-K., Yang, P.-S., Chiang, C.-H. (2002) The study of artificial rearing Taiwan bumble bee. Taiwan Insect [Spec. Issue] 4: 151–164.Google Scholar
- Kawakita, A., Sota, T., Ito, M., Ascher, J.S., Tanaka, H., Kato, M., Roubik, D.W. (2004) Phylogeny, historical biogeography, and character evolution in bumble bees (Bombus: Apidae) based on simultaneous analysis of three nuclear gene sequences. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 31(2): 799–804.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ronquist, F., Teslenko, M., van der Mark, P., Ayres, D.L., Darling, A., Hohna, S., Larget, B., Liu, L., Suchard, M.A., Huelsenbeck, J.P. (2012) MrBayes 3.2: efficient Bayesian phylogenetic inference and model choice across a large model space. Syst. Biol. 61(3): 539–542.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sung, I.-H., Lu, S.-S., Chan, M.-L., Lin, M.-Y., Chiang, C.-H., Li, C.-C., Yang, P.-S. (2011) A study on the size and morphological difference, seasonal occurrence and distribution features of four bumblebees from Taiwan (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Formosan Entomol. 31(4): 309–323.Google Scholar
- Williams, P.H. (1998) An annotated checklist of bumble bees with an analysis of patterns of description (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombini). Bull. Nat. Hist. Mus. Lond. (Ent.) 67(1): 79–152.Google Scholar
- Williams, P.H., Huang, J.-X., An, J.-D. (2017) Bear wasps of the Middle Kingdom: a decade of discovering China's bumblebees. Antenna 41(1): 21–24.Google Scholar