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Characteristics of the Two Asian Bumblebee Species Bombus friseanus and Bombus breviceps (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

1
Key Laboratory for Insect-Pollinator Biology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Institute of Apicultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
2
Institute of Sericulture and Apiculture, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Mengzi 661101, Yunnan, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11030163
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 25 February 2020 / Accepted: 2 March 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
This study compared the food plants, life cycle, colony development, and mating behaviour of the two Asian bumblebee species Bombus friseanus and B. breviceps, which are very important pollinators for many wild flowers and crops in local ecosystems. Both species were shown to be highly polylectic. Differences were observed in their life cycles and colony development patterns. The colony foundation rate of the field-collected queens was high in both species, 95.5% in B. friseanus and 86.5% in B. breviceps. The intervals from colony initiation to colony sizes of 30, 60, and 80 workers and to the first male and gyne emergence were significantly shorter in B. friseanus than in B. breviceps (p < 0.01). The development period of the first batch of workers showed no significant difference between the two species (p > 0.05). Compared with B. friseanus, B. breviceps produced remarkably higher numbers of workers (135 ± 30 workers/colony in B. friseanus and 318 ± 123 workers/colony in B. breviceps) and males (199 ± 46 males/colony in B. friseanus and 355 ± 166 males/colony in B. breviceps) (p < 0.01), with notable variation was found among the colonies in both species. With no significant difference in the mating rate between these two species, the copulation duration of B. breviceps (1.54 ± 0.63 min) was strikingly shorter than that of B. friseanus (27.44 ± 11.16 min) (p < 0.001). This study highlights the characteristics of the two Asian bumblebee species and will aid further studies on their conservation and agricultural pollination use. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bombus friseanus; Bombus breviceps; food plants; life history; colony development; mating Bombus friseanus; Bombus breviceps; food plants; life history; colony development; mating
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Liang, C.; Ding, G.; Huang, J.; Zhang, X.; Miao, C.; An, J. Characteristics of the Two Asian Bumblebee Species Bombus friseanus and Bombus breviceps (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Insects 2020, 11, 163.

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