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Bee ID Please

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This is a different Bee from my last post, and was really big which made me think it was a queen Red tail, it was lazing around on this thistle flower. Can anyone confirm please?

Thank you

Louise

     

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Hi Louise,
Well, if you’ve already had a male Bombus rupestris cuckoo in your previous pic, maybe this is a female B. rupestris, perhaps from the same source - also large and impressive, as is the Bombus lapidarius host queen.  Could you see pollen baskets on the hind legs or were they just hairy all round? - the cuckoo female wouldn’t need to collect pollen since the host workers rear the young.  Were the wings dark?
urbanbumble

     
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Thanks for all your ID help Ubanbumble, I have 2 pictures of this one, but neither give good views of the legs, and it was very low down, I have submitted my form as unknown for now, but asked Elaine to take a look and see what she thinks. I will upload the other picture, but not sure it gives any better view, I have increased the exposure and cropped as tightly as I can, not a great shot I know, but may help with the ID??

     

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Hi Louise,

I rather thought I could get a count of antennal segments from the more distant antenna, and I wondered if I could see 11(+2) segments, which should make it a male perhaps?

David

     
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Oh I did not think of doing that, here is another closer view of the antennae. It was very big for a male though, but you could be right. Thank you David.

     

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I can’t be 100% sure. It might be 11(+2) and therefore a male

David

     
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Hi Louise & David,
Good thinking David - but I am going absolutely boss-eyed peering at and counting antennal segments and can still only make it 12 segments [scape + pedicel + 10 segments]  = female.  This is all about identifying bumbles from pics when the image is not too clear.  What is the concensus for this one Elaine?
urbanbumble

     
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Hi

I count 10 segments from the bend, I don’t know what that would mean?? Here is the closest crop I can manage, with a lot of sharpening to try to make it easier to count smile Then I think we will all have to giveit up as a bad job and put it down as unknown. If it helps it was just sitting on the flower.

     

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I think you’re both right and it is only 10(+2), so a female! Sorry to set off on a false trail!

David

     
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Hi David & Louise,

Keep checking the clues bumble detectives!  Its always good to have the opportunity to fine tune our identification skills and reason out the “whys and wherefores” of our decision making - your bumble has had us all looking a bit closer!
urbanbumble

but we still don’t know for sure if is she a Bombus rupestris cuckoo female or a Bombus lapidarius queen??  Hairy legs or pollen baskets?

     
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Hi Louise,

can I assume that you are in the Southern half of the UK? I rather think the legs are a bit hairy as far as I can see, and as you say it is lazing about quite a lot, which fits males or cuckoos. I think we are now all agreed from the number of segments and “bent” antennae it is actually a female. The wings also look quite dark in the photos, to me at least. I think you said it was quite large. These all seem to fit the pattern of characteristics of the cuckoo bumble Bombus rupestris female??

David

     
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Hi David

Sorry for the late reply. No I am in Leeds, Yorkshire, so not Southern. It really is hard to ID these critters isn’t it smile

     
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Certainly is! The BWARS website says that rupestris is widespread throughout the UK, but commoner in the South, so it could still be rupestris I guess.

I think it will have to remain as “possible” though!

Best wishes,

David