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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species
Authors: Knight, Mairi E
Martin, Andrew P
Bishop, Stephen
Osborne, Juliet L
Hale, Roddy J
Sanderson, Roy A
Goulson, Dave
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Keywords: Bombus
foraging range
nest density
Issue Date: May-2005
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Knight ME, Martin AP, Bishop S, Osborne JL, Hale RJ, Sanderson RA & Goulson D (2005) An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebee (Bombus) species, Molecular Ecology, 14 (6), pp. 1811-1820.
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/km2 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.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University of Southampton
Rothamsted Research
University of Southampton
Rothamsted Research
Newcastle University
Newcastle University
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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