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Bombus terrestris with abnormalities of eyes and antennae

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Joined 2013-08-06

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I noted a queen of what I assumed was a Bombus terrestris (it’s probably a dark form which I am not familiar with) on 30th March, sunning itself on a window sill.

It has eyes which are dull, perhaps even less convex than normal, and covered in what I assume are bits of pollen.  Both antennae are truncated, so that they consist of only the scape, and perhaps a damaged pedicel as well.

I thought it was odd that a queen should have survived the winter with these abnormalities, and wondered if it was possible to relate them to damage by a predator (unlikely, because of the symmetry of these abnormalities), or a disease.  I started a thread on the BWARS forum, but got no response. I would have thought that there would have been something!  I am now trying with this forum. 

I have quite a few photos, some showing the eyes and antennae in detail. But it doesn’t seem worth uploading any images if there is no interest.

Any comments?

Nigel

     
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Joined 2012-05-24

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Hi Nigel,

The bumblebee wax moth (Aphomia sociella) can damage pupating bumblebees, but if not too bad, the adults would emerge and try to carry on as normal.

I hope this might help !

Yours       Clive

     
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Hi Clive

That sounds quite possible. The noted deformity did not appear to affect flight & basic sight, though when it was basking upside down, I did think at the time that I had never seen one in that position - they always seem to assume either a horizontal position, or inclined upwards.

The moth species Aphomia sociella does seem to occur locally to me, so again suggests it is possible. It does seem to add together as an interesting solution to this abnormality, and something I was not aware of before.

Thanks very much for that.

Nigel