Bombus melanopygus - Nylander, 1848
Black Tail Bumble Bee
Synonym(s): Bombus (Pyrobombus) melanopygus Nylander, 1848 ;Bombus edwardsii Cresson, 1878 ;Bombus melanopyge Nylander, 1848
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bombus melanopygus Nylander, 1848 (TSN 714820)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.112687
Element Code: IIHYM24150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Bumble Bees
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Hymenoptera Apidae Bombus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Williams, P. H. 2008a. Bombus, bumblebees of the world. Web pages based on Williams, P.H. 1998. An annotated checklist of bumblebees with an analysis of patterns of description (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombini). Bulletin of the Natural History Museum (Entomology) 67:79-152. Online. Available: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/index.html. Accessed 2008-Oct.
Concept Reference Code: W08WIL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Bombus (Pyrobombus) melanopygus
Taxonomic Comments: Subgenus: Pyrobombus.

Currently Bombus "edwardsii" is included in this species and it has been treated as a subspecies or a mere color form which would have no taxonomic standing. The analyses by Owen et al. (2010) support conspecificity.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 12Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 12Feb2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Ranking is confounded by widely disparate ranges given in recent references and limited information found for the northern parts of the range or from relatively natural habitats. Apparently though this bumblebee, as defined here, is fairly common from at least British Columbia well into California. It can persist well in urban parks and farmland. It possibly is somewhat of a local floral specialist near San Francisco, but unlike some bumblebees, the abundance of B. melanopygus is apparently not negatively correlated with that of B. vosnesenskii there. It is not certain how widely either of these observations from McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005) apply away from San Francisco. While more information would likely resolve the rank to G5, for now the species is ranked G4G5, apparently to demonstrably secure. If recognized as a subspecies, B. melanopygus edwardsii from much of the US range would probably rank T4, perhaps T5.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5 (14Jun2010)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (12Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (SNR), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (SNR), Idaho (S4), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), Oregon (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Utah (SNR), Washington (S4?), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Labrador (SU), Manitoba (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Northwest Territories (SNR), Nunavut (S5), Ontario (SNR), Quebec (SNR), Saskatchewan (S5), Yukon Territory (SU)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This is a bumblebee found mainly in North America west of the Rocky Mountains. Various sources disagree substantially about the actual distribution, but most include Washington (e.g. Seattle area), and all include Oregon and coastal California. Kearns and Thomson (2001) add Douglas and Washoe Counties in northwestern Nevada. Others give a much larger range. Some of this discrepancy reflects differences in taxonomy, e.g., the Bumblebee.org website lists Oregon, California, and Nevada for Bombus edwardsii (now usually considered conspecific), and Alaska to Idaho and Colorado for B. melanopygus. A Xerces Society identification guide (Evans, 2009). illustrates both forms or taxa and indicates the typical morph is northern and montane while the "edwardsii" coloration occurs mostly along coast, but that form also occurs inland in southern parts of the range. The Discover Life range map (as of May 2010) cannot be fit to the taxonomy used here. It is clearly a composite including some more widespread taxon that goes east across Canada--no attempt was made to resolve the details. The composite range for both forms or subspecies appears to include northern and coastal California, most of Oregon and Washington and east into northwestern Nevada and Idaho, British Columbia, and apparently into Alaska.

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size Comments: McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005) found B. melanopygus edwardsii to be a very distant second to B. vosnesenskii in abundance among bumblebees in urban parks and gardens in San Francisco at 2.7% of all bumblebees observed. Rao and Stephen (2010) report it as a much more respectable third behind B. vosnesenskii and B. griseocollis at 12.55% of observations on cultivated blueberry flowers (but zero on red clover) in the heavily agricultural Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Apparently does rather well in some agricultural areas and can survive in cities to some extent. This subgenus is not suspected to be impacted by exotic diseases or parasites.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: This is one of the few bumblebees still found regularly in San Francisco and is rather common in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, so it is apparently tolerant of urban and agricultural environments. Little information was found regarding more northern parts of the range but this species is not listed as in general decline by Xerces Society or others and is regarded as common in British Columbia.

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Environmental Specificity: Unknown
Environmental Specificity Comments: A generalist for nesting sites, but may be more specialized than usual in terms of floral visitation. McFrederick and LeBuhn (2005), in the San Francisco area, found this species only in study sites with Ceanothus thrysiflorus which these bees commonly visited.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)) This is a bumblebee found mainly in North America west of the Rocky Mountains. Various sources disagree substantially about the actual distribution, but most include Washington (e.g. Seattle area), and all include Oregon and coastal California. Kearns and Thomson (2001) add Douglas and Washoe Counties in northwestern Nevada. Others give a much larger range. Some of this discrepancy reflects differences in taxonomy, e.g., the Bumblebee.org website lists Oregon, California, and Nevada for Bombus edwardsii (now usually considered conspecific), and Alaska to Idaho and Colorado for B. melanopygus. A Xerces Society identification guide (Evans, 2009). illustrates both forms or taxa and indicates the typical morph is northern and montane while the "edwardsii" coloration occurs mostly along coast, but that form also occurs inland in southern parts of the range. The Discover Life range map (as of May 2010) cannot be fit to the taxonomy used here. It is clearly a composite including some more widespread taxon that goes east across Canada--no attempt was made to resolve the details. The composite range for both forms or subspecies appears to include northern and coastal California, most of Oregon and Washington and east into northwestern Nevada and Idaho, British Columbia, and apparently into Alaska.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, NM, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NF, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10May2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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