Apidologie

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 46–74 | Cite as

A simplified subgeneric classification of the bumblebees (genus Bombus)

  • Paul H. Williams
  • Sydney A. Cameron
  • Heather M. Hines
  • Bjorn Cederberg
  • Pierre Rasmont
Original Article

Abstract

A system of subgenera has been widely used for nearly a century to communicate ideas of relationships among bumblebee species. However, with 38 subgenera in recent lists for about 250 species, the system has come to be seen as too complicated. In this paper we suggest four criteria to guide the process of simplifying the subgeneric system, so that ideally subgenera should become: (1) monophyletic; (2) fewer; (3) diagnosable from morphology; and (4) names for important behavioural and ecological groups. Using a new strongly-supported estimate of phylogeny for almost all bumblebee species, we apply these criteria to reduce the system to 15 subgenera, and we assess the consequences. Ten new subgeneric synonyms are recognised. Keys to identify adult bumblebees to the simplified subgenera are provided for both sexes.

bumblebee Bombus subgenera phylogeny classification 

Classification simplifiée des sous-genres de bourdons (genre Bombus)

Bombus sous-genre phylogénie classification 

Eine vereinfachte Klassifikation der Untergattungen der Hummeln (Gattung Bombus)

Zusammenfassung

Hummeln sind farblich sehr variabel, morphologisch ansonsten aber relativ einheitlich. Um die Variation sinnvoll zu ordnen, besteht eine lange Tradition die Arten in Untergattungen zusammenzufassen und sich hierbei zunächst auf die Färbung, dann auf die Morphologie und neuerdings auch auf DNA Sequenzen zu stützen. Allerdings wurde bei 38 Unterarten in den derzeitigen Listungen die Notwendigkeit einer Vereinfachung des Systems gesehen. Wir besprechen die weiterhin bestehende Nützlichkeit des Systems von Untergattungen und erörtern vier mögliche als Leitlinie für Änderungen nutzbare Kriterien. Wir schlagen vor, dass Untergattungen (1) monophyletisch, (2) weniger, (3) aus der Morphologie erkennbar werden sollten und (4) zur Namensgebung wichtiger verhaltensmäßiger oder ökologischer Gruppen dienlich sein sollten. Unter Nutzung einer fast alle Hummeln einschließenden gut fundierten Abschätzung der Phylogenie besprechen wir Konflikte in der Nutzung dieser Kriterien und schlagen ein vereinfachtes System aus 15 Untergattungen vor, in der 10 neue Untergattungssynonyme anerkannt werden. Wir fanden es leicht, monophyletische Subgenera zu erkennen und ihre Anzahl zu reduzieren. Dagegen wurde es mit zunehmender Artenzahl immer schwieriger, Untergattungen zu definieren, die sowohl morphologisch leicht zu unterscheiden waren als auch einige der oft als besonders wichtig angesehenen verhaltensmässigen und ökologischen Eigenschaften teilen. Dies war deshalb der Fall, da entsprechend unserer vorläufigen Analyse einzelne Ausprägungen dieser Eigenschaften nicht ausschließlich von allen Arten einer morphologischen Gruppe geteilt werden.

Hummeln Bombus Untergattungen Phylogenie Klassifikation 

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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul H. Williams
    • 1
  • Sydney A. Cameron
    • 2
  • Heather M. Hines
    • 2
  • Bjorn Cederberg
    • 3
  • Pierre Rasmont
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyThe Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Swedish Species Information CentreUniversity of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Laboratory of ZoologyUniversity of Mons-HainautMonsBelgium

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