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Conserv Biol. 2009 Aug;23(4):931-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01176.x. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Bumblebee vulnerability: common correlates of winners and losers across three continents.

Author information

1
Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom. paw@nhm.ac.uk

Abstract

It is widely agreed that in many parts of the world some bumblebee (Bombus) species have declined, and that this has often been driven by land-use changes that cause reductions in the abundance of food plants. There is much less agreement about how changes in food plants affect some bumblebee species more than others. We sought to identify which species' characteristics are generally associated with the relative winners and losers by comparing the 3 independent bumblebee faunas from parts of Britain, Canada, and China. Using available survey data, we assessed species characteristics, including competition with congeners, climatic specialization, proximity to climatic range edge, food specialization, phenology, body size, and range size. Results of our meta-analysis of correlations showed support for the hypotheses that decline susceptibility is generally greater for species that have greater climatic specialization, for species in areas where they occur closest to the edges of their climatic ranges, and for species that have queens that become active later in the year. The latter characteristic may render a species at a particular disadvantage when they have long colony cycles if there are losses of food plants in mid to late colony development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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