Bombus suckleyi - Greene, 1860
Suckley's Cuckoo Bumble Bee
Synonym(s): Bombus (Psithyrus) suckleyi Greene, 1860 ;Psithyrus suckleyi (Greene, 1860)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bombus suckleyi Greene, 1860 (TSN 714839)
French Common Names: Bourdon de Suckley
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.819661
Element Code: IIHYM24350
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 (Psithyrus) suckleyi
Taxonomic Comments: Subgenus: Psithyrus.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 29Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 29Jun2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: There is no doubt that B. suckleyi has declined substantially and there are no recent records in most parts of the range be due in large part or entirely to the drastic rangewide decline of what was its principal known host, Bombus occidentalis occidentalis, as well as the closely related northern and eastern host, B. terricola. Based on available records (Hatfield et al., 2014) since 2002 there have been only the two Newfoundland records and ten western ones (three very tightly clustered in northern Alberta).  Until there is a better understanding of how B. suckleyi was persisting where it was in 2007-2012, and especially what the current hosts are, its status and prognosis in some places will remain poorly known. It is likely that some populations known to have been extant in 2009 and since were not still using B. o. occidentalis or B. terricola. Alternate hosts in most of the "lower 48" states would have to be from other subgenera and there are records from at least four others (Krombein et al., 1979), although most of these are now considered to be not successfully used.  One would also think it should persist farther south if the three 2009 occurrences were using a host other than B. occidentalis. The rank calulator rank of G1G3 and a previous assigned rank of GU versus Hatfield et al.'s (2014) assessment as critically endangered by IUCN creteria result from different assessments the adequacy of knowledge.  If the limited available data from the far north are accepted at face value and if B. o. occidentalis and B. terricola are essentially the only hosts, then  Hatfield et al (2014) is supported.  The NatureServe assessment takes into account the lack of known decline of B. o. mackayi and that B. suckleyi should still occur regularly using that far northern host if decline is due entirely to host loss.  There is no actual evidence that B. suckleyi is stable anywhere. Its ability to utilize hosts other than B. terricola and B. o. occidentalis is a major unknown.  If both subspecies of B. occidentalis and B. terricola actually are the only three hosts,  B. suckleyi could become restricted to the range of B. o. mackayi.  If it uses only B. o. occidentalis and B. terricola, then the IUCN assessment of critically imperiled appears to be justified, but with substantial uncertainty northward. The rank calculator rank is G1G3, but many of the rank factors generating that rank have very low certainty and this species is plausibly secure (i.e. G4) in some remote poorly sampled northern regions, especially if it does use B. o. mackayi and/or some other boreal taxa. The status of critical endangered fits the actual data, but could be way off if B. suckleyi uses any such taxa as its northwestern range limits suggest it probably does. The rank is changed from GU to "G1G3?" to emphasize the known major decline but serious uncertainty about status in the most northern parts of the range. 
Nation: United States
National Status: NU (21Jun2010)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3 (27Aug2016)

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), California (S1), Idaho (S2), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), New York (SNA), Washington (S1?)
Canada Alberta (S3S4), British Columbia (S3S4), Manitoba (S3S4), Newfoundland Island (SU), Northwest Territories (SNR), Ontario (SH), Saskatchewan (S3S4), Yukon Territory (SU)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: CR - Critically endangered

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This species is or recently was widespread in western North America from at least southern Alaska southeast across southern Manitoba, and widely in the western USA to northern California (Siskiyou County as recently as 2008 and 2009, Discover Life; see Thorp et al. (1983) for older records from extreme northern California ), Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota with one record in Wisconsin.  There are two records much farther in the Northwest Territories including the Mackenzie Delta.  This record is accepted by Hatfield et al. (2014), and doing so substantially enlarges the global range.  Even so a tight cluster of records in northern Albarta falls outside of their map of historic occurrence.   There are two clusters of eastern records, old records in extreme southeastern Ontario into central and northern New York, and several in Newfoundland (2002-2012, Hatfield et al., 2014), Prince Edward Island, and the southern tip of Nova Scotia. Colla and Packer (2008) do not include this species as historic from southern Ontario, although Discover Life maps a 1908 specimen from Wellington. This species probably will be found more widely than is now known in the far north from the Mackensie region to at least the west and southern sides of Hudson Bay. Golig and Ellis (2006) report recent (1999-2002) records for two counties in northwest Nebraska, although with the subsequent collapse of its known host, occurrence in Nebraska now seems unlikely. Discover Life maps records from Chaffee County, Colorado and Cascade County, Montana from 2009, which probably post-date the collapse of the known host which is very unlikely to have been supporting B. suckelyi in Siskiyou county in 2008-2009. The presence of this specie reported in Alaska by Washburn (1963) was not confirmed by Pampell et al. (2015), tentatively.

Number of Occurrences: Unknown
Number of Occurrences Comments: Apparently very few southward, but no idea in the far north.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The only documented successful host (victim) species of this nest parasite are the Bombus (Bombus) occidentalis complex, including B. terricola which Williams (2008) considered conspecific. These hosts have become undetectable or very rare in most of their range.   The maps of Hatfield et al. (2014) show very good agreement between the ranges of B. suckleyi and the combined range of the known hosts, except that neither host is known quite as far north as Mackenzie Delta.  B. suckleyi is or was known from most of the range of B. occidentalis less so that of B. terricola. The extent to which recent (2008-2009) collections in California, Montana, and Colorado indicate alternate hosts, versus persistence of B. occidentalis, is unknown.  However if the Mackenzie Delta record really does indicate a population that far north, then either one of the two known hosts occurs farther north than records indicate or there is a third host.   Without adequate populations of its host species, B. suckleyi cannot persist.

Short-term Trend: Decline of >50%
Short-term Trend Comments: While this was a very widespread cuckoo bee in the West, there are only about 20 post-1997 locality records, although they do cover much of the range including Newfoundland.  Hatfield et al. (2014) indicate about half that many in 2002-2012. Given the rapid collapse of its apparent primary host, the Western Bumblebee, since then, most of these post-1997 populations and some post-2002 populations probably no longer exist. However, those in the far north and the three documented in 2009, after the collapse of the primary host, probably are still extant in which case there must be others. It is possible this species has somehow been overlooked but it has been rarely collected in most of its range in recent decades. While there is no doubt it has had a serious decline, the exact extent is unclear. Where it was completely dependent on Bombus occidentalis occidentalis it is probably extirpated or on the brink. There is no known reason why it should have declined in Alaska, Yukon, and northern British Columbia where the likely host B. occidentalis mckayi is still (2010s) locally common and apparently stable, but there are so few historic collections of B. suckleyi that far north that the lack of current records there means little.

Long-term Trend: Decline of >50%
Long-term Trend Comments: See short term trends. The species is not known to have been declining before about 1998.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly to moderately vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: An obligate nest parasite, apparently primarily in the declining subgenus Bombus. Krombein et al. (1979) list host records from additional subgenera Bombus, Thoracobombus, Bombias, Cullumaobombus and Subterraneobombus. Thorp et al. (1983) cite several older references claiming that this species occurs in nests of other subgenera but reports that apparently production of adults has not been verified from any species other than Bombus (Bombus) occidentalis and B. (B). terricola. See also Williams (2008). However the 2008-2009 occurrence in Siskiyou County California seems unlikely to have been supported by subgenus Bombus, and 2009 occurrences in Colorado and Montana seem remsarkable. Where it is solely dependent on Bombus (Bombus) occidentalis ocidentalis, B. suckleyi has very little chance of survival.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: None identified other than adequate population of the host species, but the possibility of other factors being critical should not be dismissed.

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) This species is or recently was widespread in western North America from at least southern Alaska southeast across southern Manitoba, and widely in the western USA to northern California (Siskiyou County as recently as 2008 and 2009, Discover Life; see Thorp et al. (1983) for older records from extreme northern California ), Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota with one record in Wisconsin.  There are two records much farther in the Northwest Territories including the Mackenzie Delta.  This record is accepted by Hatfield et al. (2014), and doing so substantially enlarges the global range.  Even so a tight cluster of records in northern Albarta falls outside of their map of historic occurrence.   There are two clusters of eastern records, old records in extreme southeastern Ontario into central and northern New York, and several in Newfoundland (2002-2012, Hatfield et al., 2014), Prince Edward Island, and the southern tip of Nova Scotia. Colla and Packer (2008) do not include this species as historic from southern Ontario, although Discover Life maps a 1908 specimen from Wellington. This species probably will be found more widely than is now known in the far north from the Mackensie region to at least the west and southern sides of Hudson Bay. Golig and Ellis (2006) report recent (1999-2002) records for two counties in northwest Nebraska, although with the subsequent collapse of its known host, occurrence in Nebraska now seems unlikely. Discover Life maps records from Chaffee County, Colorado and Cascade County, Montana from 2009, which probably post-date the collapse of the known host which is very unlikely to have been supporting B. suckelyi in Siskiyou county in 2008-2009. The presence of this specie reported in Alaska by Washburn (1963) was not confirmed by Pampell et al. (2015), tentatively.

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, CA, ID, MN, MT, NE, NY, WA
Canada AB, BC, MB, NF, NT, ON, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Humboldt (06023), Siskiyou (06093)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Scott (18010208)+, Lower Klamath (18010209)+, Sacramento headwaters (18020005)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Ecology Comments: This is one of the cuckoo bumblebees. Its known "hosts" (more like victim) are Bombus (Bombus) terricola (Williams, 2008), which includes what is now B. occidentalis. If there are alternate hosts, B. (B.) cryptarum seems most likely. However, Krombein et al. (1979) list host records from additional subgenera Bombus, Thoracobombus, Bombias, Cullumaobombus and SUBTERRANEOBOMBUS. Thorp et al. (1983) cite several older references claiming that this species occurs in nests of other subgenera but reports that apparently production of adults has not been verified from any species other than Bombus (Bombus) occidentalis and B. (B). terricola. See also Williams (2008). The 2008-2009 occurrence in Siskiyou County California was almost certainly in the absence of subgenus Bombus, and 2009 occurrences in Colorado and Montana probably were.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Jul2014
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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