30 July 2013 08:59 PM
01 August 2013 10:19 AM #1
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?
01 August 2013 11:49 AM #2
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??
01 August 2013 02:13 PM #3
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?
01 August 2013 02:33 PM #4
01 August 2013 02:53 PM #5
I can’t be 100% sure. It might be 11(+2) and therefore a male
01 August 2013 03:06 PM #6
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?
01 August 2013 03:14 PM #7
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 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.
01 August 2013 06:52 PM #8
I think you’re both right and it is only 10(+2), so a female! Sorry to set off on a false trail!
02 August 2013 10:32 AM #9
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!
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?
02 August 2013 11:49 AM #10
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??
13 August 2013 11:41 PM #11
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
14 August 2013 12:13 AM #12
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!
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