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Bombus suckleyi 

Scope: Global
Language: English
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Hymenoptera Apidae

Scientific Name: Bombus suckleyi Greene, 1860
Common Name(s):
English Suckley Cuckoo Bumble Bee
Synonym(s):
Psithyrus suckleyi
Taxonomic Source(s): Greene, J.W. 1860. XXI. Review of the American Bombidae, together with a description of several species heretofore undescribed, being a synopsis of this family of Hymenopterous insects thus far known to inhabit North America. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York 7: 168-176.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2bc+3b ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-08-19
Assessor(s): Hatfield, R., Jepsen, S., Thorp, R., Richardson, L. & Colla, S.
Reviewer(s): Ascher, J., Jha, S., Williams, P., Lozier, J., Cannings, S., Inouye, D., Yanega, D. & Woodard, H.
Contributor(s): Antweiler, G., Arduser, M., Ascher, J., Bartomeus, N., Beauchemin, A., Beckham, J., Cromartie, J., Day, L., Droege, S., Evans, E., Fiscus, D., Fraser, D., Gadallah, Z., Gall, L., Gardner, J., Gill, D., Golick, D., Heinrich, B., Hinds, P., Hines, H., Irwin, R., Jean, R., Klymko, J., Koch, J., MacPhail, V., Martineau, R., Martins, K., Matteson, K., McFarland, K., Milam, J., Moisan-DeSerres, J., Morrison, F., Ogden, J., Packer, L., Richardson, L., Savard, M., Scott, V., Scully, C., Sheffield, C., Sikes, D., Strange, J., Surrette, S., Thomas, C, Thompson, J., Veit, M., Wetherill, K., Williams, N., Williams, P., Winfree, R., Yanega, D. & Zahendra, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Foltz Jordan, S., Hatfield, R., Colla, S. & MacPhail, V.
Justification:
According to our analysis, this western North American species has experienced rapid declines in relative abundance in recent years (Hatfield et al. 2014). The decade by decade relative abundance regression shows a gradual decline since the 1940s, and the relative abundance regression over just the past 50 years is highly significant (R-squared value of nearly 1; showing a continued steep decline). If we project the 50 year relative abundance regression into the future, it falls below the x-axis in the next 10 years. Notably, this species' regression mirrors that of B. occidentalis, a primary host. Both the past decline in relative abundance (90.11% over the past 10 years) and predicted future decline in relative abundance (based on 50-year regression) justify a Critically Endangered listing, using criterion A2be + A3b. Note that the range and persistence of this species have also declined, however, since some historic sites have not been re-sampled and since we only have records of this species in approximately six general localities for the current time period, we were not comfortable using those measures of decline. Based on the above calculations and trends, along with published reports of bumble bee decline and the assessors' best professional judgement, we recommend this species for the Critically Endangered Red List category at this time.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a broad distribution centred in western North America and also including several scattered localities in the northeast. It occurs in the Mountain West from California and Colorado to Alaska, east to the Canadian Great Plains, with a disjunct subpopulation in Newfoundland (Williams et al. 2014).   

Erroneous Records: Records of this species from Wisconsin on the Discover Life (2014) map for this species are in error (actually from Washington).

For a graph and map of relative abundance and range changes of this species over time, see the Supplementary Material.
For further information about this species, see 44937699_Bombus_suckleyi.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, Newfoundland I, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon); United States (Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is apparently declining in some parts of its range, presumably linked to declines of some of its hosts (Williams et al. 2014). We evaluated this species’ spatial distribution over time using a measure of change in the extent of occurrence (EOO; see Figure 3 in the Supplementary Material) and a measure of change in persistence (analytical methods described in Hatfield et al. 2014). We also assessed changes in the species’ relative abundance (see Figures 1 and 2 in the Supplementary Material), which we consider to be an index of abundance relevant to the taxon, as specified by the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2012). For all three calculations we divided the database into historical (1805-2001, N=128,572) and current (2002-2012, N=74,682) records. This timeframe was chosen to meet the IUCN criteria stipulation that species decline must have been observed over the longer of three generations or 10 years. Average decline for this species was calculated by averaging the change in abundance, persistence, and EOO. This analysis yielded the following results (see also the graph in Supplementary Material of relative abundance and map of change in EOO over time)
  • Current range size relative to historic range: 42.61%
  • Persistence in current range relative to historic occupancy: 15.95%
  • Current relative abundance relative to historic values: 9.89%
  • Average decline: 77.18%
This cuckoo bumble bee has steeply declined in relative abundance, particularly over the past 50 years (Hatfield et al. 2014; see Figure 2 in the Supplementary Material). The decade by decade relative abundance regression shows a gradual decline since the 1940s, and the relative abundance regression over just the past 50 years is highly significant (R-squared value of nearly 1; showing a continued steep decline). If we project the 50 year relative abundance regression into the future, it falls below the x-axis in the next 10 years. Notably, this species' regression mirrors that of B. occidentalis. Note that although the range and persistence of this species have also declined dramatically, we only have records of this species in six general locations for the current time period, and since some historic sites have not been revisited and we lack population level data, we are not relying on these measures in this assessment.

For a graph and map of relative abundance and range changes of this species over time, see the Supplementary Material.
For further information about this species, see 44937699_Bombus_suckleyi.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Bombus suckleyi is a cuckoo bee, a term used for a specialized lineage of bumble bees (subgenus Psithyrus) that has lost the ability to collect pollen and to rear their brood. As such, these bees do not found their own nests, but instead, usurp the colonies and worker forces of other bumble bee species. To do this, a mated female enters the nest of another bumble bee species, kills or subdues the queen of that colony, and forcibly (using pheromones and/or physical attacks) "enslaves" the workers of that colony to feed her and her developing young. Since all of the resulting cuckoo bee offspring are reproductive (not workers), they leave the colony to mate, and the mated females seek out other nests to attack. Males of this species patrol circuits in search of mates. Before finding and invading a host colony, females feed directly from flowers. The adult food plants of this species include "Aster", Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, and Solidago (Williams et al. 2014). 

Cuckoo bee nesting occurs exclusively in the nests of other bees. They often attack a broad range of host species, but some species specialize in attacking the members of just one species or subgenus. Bombus suckleyi has been recorded in nests of bumble bees in six different subgenera, but the most common association were with the subgenera Pyrobombus and Bombus, and the only nests in which B. suckleyi adults were produced were those of B. occidentalis (reviewed in Thorp et al. 1983). As such, B. suckleyi has been documented breeding as a parasite of colonies of Bombus occidentalis, and has been recorded as present in the colonies of B. terricola,B. rufocinctus, B. fervidus, B. nevadensis, and B. appositus (Williams et al. 2014).
Systems:Terrestrial
Generation Length (years):1

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The recent steep declines in relative abundance exhibited by this cuckoo bee are probably due to indirect threats (e.g., disease, decline in habitat) resulting in loss of hosts (Hatfield et al. 2014, Williams et al. 2014). This species is an obligate nest parasite of other bumble bees. Some of these bees, particularly B. occidentalis and B. terricola, are also experiencing dramatic declines (Evans et al. 2008), which is likely driving the declines of this species. Additional direct threats that may be impacting this species include pesticide use, habitat loss, pathogens from managed pollinators, competition with non-native bees, and climate change (reviewed in Goulson 2010, Williams et al. 2009, Williams and Osborne 2009, Fürst et al. 2014, Cameron et al. 2011, Hatfield et al. 2012). Reduced genetic diversity resulting from any of these threats can be particularly concerning for bumble bees, since their method of sex-determination can be disrupted by inbreeding (Goulson 2010, Hatfield et al. 2012). Note that Cordes et al. (2012) found this species exhibited high prevalence of the microsporidium Nosema bombi (25%), although the sample size was low (four individuals).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Specific conservation and research needs for this species have not been identified. Due to the inherent vulnerability of many bumble bee species and importance of supporting wild bee populations for pollination services, the following general conservation practices are recommended:
  • Restore, create and preserve natural high-quality habitats to include suitable forage, nesting and overwintering sites. 
  • Restrict pesticide use on or near suitable habitat, particularly while treated plants are in flower.
  • Promote farming practices that increase of nitrogen-fixing fallow (legumes) and other pollinator-friendly plants along field margins. 
  • Minimize exposure of wild bees to diseases transferred from managed bees. 
  • Avoid honey bee introduction to high-quality native bee habitat.
Research needs for North American bumble bees (as a whole) are summarized in Cameron et al. (2011), the final report for the 2010 North American Bumble Bee Species Conservation Planning Workshop.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.3. Shrubland - Boreal
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
4. Grassland -> 4.1. Grassland - Tundra
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.3. Temperature extremes
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.4. Storms & flooding
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

12. Other options -> 12.1. Other threat
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:High Impact: 9 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.2. Supression in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

9. Pollution -> 9.3. Agricultural & forestry effluents -> 9.3.3. Herbicides and pesticides
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.3. Loss of mutualism

Bibliography [top]

Cameron, S.A., Lozier, J.D., Strange, J.P, Koch, J.B., Cordes, N., Solter, L.F. and Griswold, T.L. 2011. Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA) 108(2): 662-667.

Cameron, S., Jepsen, S., Spevak, E., Strange, J., Vaughan, M., Engler, J. and Byers, O. (eds.). 2011. North American Bumble Bee Species Conservation Planning Workshop Final Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.

Cordes, N., Huang, W.-F., Strange, J. P., Cameron, S. A., Griswold, T. L., Lozier, J. D., & Solter, L. F. 2012. Interspecific geographic distribution and variation of the pathogens Nosema bombi and Crithidia species in United States bumble bee populations. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 109(2): 209–216.

Evans, E., Thorp, R, Jepsen, S., and S. Hoffman Black. 2008. Status Review of Three Formerly Common Species of Bumble Bee in the Subgenus Bombus: Bombus affinis (the rusty patched bumble bee), B. terricola (the yellowbanded bumble bee), and B. occidentalis (the western bumble bee).

Fürst, M.A., McMahon, D.P., Osborne, J.L., Paxton, R.J. and Brown, M.J.F. 2014. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators. Nature 506: 364-366.

Goulson, D. 2010. Bumblebees: behaviour, ecology, and conservation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hatfield, R, Colla, S.R., Jepsen, S., Richardson, L., Thorp, R. and Foltz Jordan, S. 2014. Draft IUCN Assessments for North American Bombus spp. for the North American IUCN Bumble Bee Specialist Group. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, www.xerces.org, Portland, OR.

Hatfield, R., Jepsen, S., Mader, E., Black, S.H. and Shepherd, M. 2012. Conserving Bumble Bees. Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America's Declining Pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation., Portland, OR.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 23 June 2015).

Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23: viii+79 pp.

Williams, P.H. and Osborne, J.L. 2009. Bumble bee vulnerability and conservation world-wide. Apidologie 40: 367-387.

Williams, P.H., Colla, S.R. and Xie, Z. 2009. Bumblebee vulnerability: common correlates of winners and losers across three continents. Conservation Biology 23: 931-940.

Williams, P.H., Thorp, R.W., Richardson, L.L. and Colla, S.R. 2014. The Bumble bees of North America: An Identification guide. Princeton University Press, Princeton.


Citation: Hatfield, R., Jepsen, S., Thorp, R., Richardson, L. & Colla, S. 2015. Bombus suckleyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T44937699A46440241. . Downloaded on 18 November 2017.
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