|Thibaut De Meulemeester
+32 (0) 65 37 34 05
By their pollinating characteristics, bumblebees are of great importance both in land
ecosystem (mainly in cold and temperate biomes) and in agriculture. One million
colonies are used each year for greenhouse pollination. Among the 6
domesticated species, 5 belong to the subgenus Bombus s. str. [syn.=Terrestribombus].
Despite this economic impact, the systematic of this group is probably the most
confuse within the bumblebees. The main confusion comes from the homogenous
morphology of the 20 species included in this group, with several cryptic
In order to clarify the subgenus systematics, it needs to use several investigation methods side by side: morphometrics, biomolecular analysis and sexual pheromone analysis. The aim of the research is to define the Bombus s. str. species by the composition of their sexual pheromonal secretions (the main part of the bumblebee specific recognition system) and to compare it with morphology, biogeography, morphometrics and phylogeny in order to review their systematic by a total evidence approach.
Because of the present lack of fundamental knowledge in Bombus s. str. it is yet difficult or even impossible to assess the risks of moving large amounts of colonies for pollination purpose. A clear specific review of the whole group would improve dramatically this assessment possibility.
Publications les plus significatives
Michez, D., T. Demeulemeester, A. Nel, P. Rasmont and S. Patiny 2009. New fossil evidence of the early diversification of bees: Paleohabropoda oudardi from the French Paleocene (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Anthophorini). Zoologica Scripta 38: 171-181.