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An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species

An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species
An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species
Bumblebees are major pollinators of crops and wildflowers in northern temperate regions. Knowledge of their ecology is vital for the design of effective management and conservation strategies but key aspects remain poorly understood. Here we employed microsatellite markers to estimate and compare foraging range and nest density among four UK species: Bombus terrestris, Bombus pascuorum, Bombus lapidarius, and Bombus pratorum. Workers were sampled along a 1.5-km linear transect across arable farmland. Eight or nine polymorphic microsatellite markers were then used to identify putative sisters. In accordance with previous studies, minimum estimated maximum foraging range was greatest for B. terrestris (758 m) and least for B. pascuorum (449 m). The estimate for B. lapidarius was similar to B. pascuorum (450 m), while that of B. pratorum was intermediate (674 m). Since the area of forage available to bees increases as the square of foraging range, these differences correspond to a threefold variation in the area used by bumblebee nests of different species. Possible explanations for these differences are discussed. Estimates for nest density at the times of sampling were 29, 68, 117, and 26/km(2) for B. terrestris, B. pascuorum, B. lapidarius and B. pratorum, respectively. These data suggest that even among the most common British bumblebee species, significant differences in fundamental aspects of their ecology exist, a finding that should be reflected in management and conservation strategies.
Bombus, foraging range, kinship, microsatellites, nest density
0962-1083
1811-1820
Knight, M.E.
8fc4d7ce-da18-4d05-a392-995da9d1f6de
Martin, A.P.
2b50c92a-7383-49bc-9d40-9b64df431148
Bishop, S.
a2dcc221-a4d9-4754-aab8-13c85b378cd3
Osborne, J.L.
b7bd9cf6-b933-4957-aadd-f4702302e54a
Hale, R.J.
8f5774da-6673-4345-b7fd-8eeccb119029
Sanderson, R.A.
7d0af150-0895-4401-b128-a4eb7b70b837
Goulson, D.
edf7f1d7-7e58-40c3-88e8-81a43ca89efd
Knight, M.E.
8fc4d7ce-da18-4d05-a392-995da9d1f6de
Martin, A.P.
2b50c92a-7383-49bc-9d40-9b64df431148
Bishop, S.
a2dcc221-a4d9-4754-aab8-13c85b378cd3
Osborne, J.L.
b7bd9cf6-b933-4957-aadd-f4702302e54a
Hale, R.J.
8f5774da-6673-4345-b7fd-8eeccb119029
Sanderson, R.A.
7d0af150-0895-4401-b128-a4eb7b70b837
Goulson, D.
edf7f1d7-7e58-40c3-88e8-81a43ca89efd

Knight, M.E., Martin, A.P., Bishop, S., Osborne, J.L., Hale, R.J., Sanderson, R.A. and Goulson, D. (2005) An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species. Molecular Ecology, 14 (6), 1811-1820. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02540.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Bumblebees are major pollinators of crops and wildflowers in northern temperate regions. Knowledge of their ecology is vital for the design of effective management and conservation strategies but key aspects remain poorly understood. Here we employed microsatellite markers to estimate and compare foraging range and nest density among four UK species: Bombus terrestris, Bombus pascuorum, Bombus lapidarius, and Bombus pratorum. Workers were sampled along a 1.5-km linear transect across arable farmland. Eight or nine polymorphic microsatellite markers were then used to identify putative sisters. In accordance with previous studies, minimum estimated maximum foraging range was greatest for B. terrestris (758 m) and least for B. pascuorum (449 m). The estimate for B. lapidarius was similar to B. pascuorum (450 m), while that of B. pratorum was intermediate (674 m). Since the area of forage available to bees increases as the square of foraging range, these differences correspond to a threefold variation in the area used by bumblebee nests of different species. Possible explanations for these differences are discussed. Estimates for nest density at the times of sampling were 29, 68, 117, and 26/km(2) for B. terrestris, B. pascuorum, B. lapidarius and B. pratorum, respectively. These data suggest that even among the most common British bumblebee species, significant differences in fundamental aspects of their ecology exist, a finding that should be reflected in management and conservation strategies.

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More information

Submitted date: 3 November 2004
Published date: May 2005
Keywords: Bombus, foraging range, kinship, microsatellites, nest density

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 56861
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/56861
ISSN: 0962-1083
PURE UUID: 2330e588-a087-42fe-8f2f-65b1df869815

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Date deposited: 06 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:30

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Contributors

Author: M.E. Knight
Author: A.P. Martin
Author: S. Bishop
Author: J.L. Osborne
Author: R.J. Hale
Author: R.A. Sanderson
Author: D. Goulson

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