Bombus alpinus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Bombus alpinus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Apis alpina Linnaeus, 1758
Bombus helleri Dalla Torre, 1882
Bombus helleri MISSING variety collaris Dalla Torre, 1882

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2b(i,ii,iii,v)c(iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-08-23
Assessor(s): Cederberg, B., Michez, D., Nieto, A., Radchenko, V., Rasmont, P. & Roberts, S.
Reviewer(s): Williams, P. & Bilz, M.
Global and European regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)
EU 27 regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)

Listed as Vulnerable, because although the known area of occupancy (AOO) is 1,288 km², it is believed that the species occupies a larger area, though less than 2,000 km². There is a continuing decline in the extent of occurrence, the area of occupancy, the extent and quality of the habitat and the number of mature individuals, especially in the southern mountains due to climate change. The species is experiencing extreme fluctuations in the number of mature individuals.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:All the species of the subgenus Alpinobombus are restricted to the northern tundra or the higher alpine stages of some mountains. Among them, the best known is Bombus alpinus. Whereas the three other west-Palearctic Alpinobombus species are restricted to the Arctic tundra and spread eastwards to the tundra of northern Russia, Balpinus is not found east of the Kola Peninsula (Pittioni 1942), but spreads southwards to the alpine regions of the Alps and the Carpathians. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is  3,711,722 km² and the area of occupancy (AOO) is 1,288 km².
Austria; Finland; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Norway; Romania; Russian Federation (North European Russia); Sweden; Switzerland
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


A boreal-alpine species favouring higher altitudes. Decreasing in both the Alps and probably also in Fennoscandia. No recent records from the Carpathians. The species is susceptible to severe fluctuations in abundance (B. Cederberg pers. comm. 2012).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A species of open situations in alpine regions. In the northern parts of its range, it is found in subalpine mountain meadows (Finland), Salix biotopes, Vaccinium heaths and mountain meadows and tundra (Norway).

Pollen analysis of nest contents of a Norwegian nest show the species is polylectic, collecting pollen from Salix (Salicaceae); Vaccinium uliginosus (Ericaceae); Lotus corniculatus (Fabaceae); and Pedicularis sp. (Orobanchaceae) (Løken 1973).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

This species is not traded or exploited commercially.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Southern mountain populations are threatened by climate change. This is likely to cause a decline in the amount of suitable habitat available (P. Rasmont pers. comm. 2013, B. Cederberg pers. comm. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The species is not subject to any targeted conservation action.

Further research is required to establish the current status of the species in European Russia and Ukraine and to identify the existing threats. It occurs in protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Løken, A. 1973. Studies on Scandinavian Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Norsk entomologisk Tidsskrift 20(1): 1-218.

Monsevičius, V. 2004. Comparison of three methods of sampling wild bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in Èepkeliai Nature Reserve (South Lithuania). Ekologija 4: 32-39.

Pittioni, B. 1942. Die boreoalpinen Hummeln und Schmarotzerhummeln (Hymen., Apidae, Bombinae). I. Teil. Mitteilungen aus den Königlichen Naturwissenschaftlichen Instituten in Sofia 15: 155-218.

Rasmont, P. and Iserbyt, I. 2010-2012. Atlas of the European Bees: genus Bombus. STEP Project. Atlas Hymenoptera. Mons Available at:

Citation: Cederberg, B., Michez, D., Nieto, A., Radchenko, V., Rasmont, P. & Roberts, S. 2013. Bombus alpinus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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