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      Why Are Queens Broodless? Failed Nest Initiation Not Linked to Parasites, Mating Status, or Ovary Development in Two Bumble Bee Species of Pyrobombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus)

      1 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 1

      Journal of Economic Entomology

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          Bumble bees (Bombus [Hymenoptera: Apidae]) are important pollinators for agricultural crops, which has led to their commercial domestication. Despite their importance, little is known about the reproductive biology of bumble bees native to North America. The Hunt bumble bee (Bombus huntii Greene [Hymenoptera: Apidae]) and the Vosnesensky bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski [Hymenoptera: Apidae] are native candidates for commercial production in western North America due to their efficacy in providing commercial pollination services. Availability of pollinators native to the region in which services would be provided would minimize the likelihood of introducing exotic species and spreading novel disease. Some parasites are known to affect bumble bee reproduction, but little is known about their prevalence in North America or how they affect queen success. Only 38% of wild-caught B. huntii and 51% wild-caught B. vosnesenskii queens collected between 2015 and 2017 initiated nests in the laboratory. Our objective was to identify causal factors leading to a queen’s inability to oviposit. To address this, we dissected each broodless queen and diagnosed diseases, assessed mating status, and characterized ovary development. Nematodes, arthropods, and microorganisms were detected in both species. Overall, 20% of queens were infected by parasites, with higher rates in B. vosnesenskii. Over 95% of both species were mated, and over 88% had developed ovaries. This suggests that parasitism and mating status were not primary causes of broodlessness. Although some failure to nest can be attributed to assessed factors, additional research is needed to fully understand the challenges presented by captive rearing.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Bumblebee vulnerability and conservation world-wide

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            Strong context-dependent virulence in a host-parasite system: reconciling genetic evidence with theory

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              On the evolutionary ecology of host-parasite interactions: addressing the question with regard to bumblebees and their parasites.

               P Hempel (2001)
              Over the last decade, there has been a major shift in the study of adaptive patterns and processes towards including the role of host-parasite interactions, informed by concepts from evolutionary ecology. As a consequence, a number of major questions have emerged. For example, how genetics affects host-parasite interactions, whether parasitism selects for offspring diversification, whether parasite virulence is an adaptive trait, and what constrains the use of the host's immune defences. Using bumblebees, Bombus spp, and their parasites as a model system, answers to some of these questions have been found, while at the same time the complexity of the interaction has led expectations away from simple theoretical models. In addition, the results have also led to the unexpected discovery of novel phenomena concerning, for instance, female mating strategies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Economic Entomology
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                0022-0493
                1938-291X
                April 2020
                April 06 2020
                December 09 2019
                April 2020
                April 06 2020
                December 09 2019
                : 113
                : 2
                : 575-581
                Affiliations
                [1 ]United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service-Pollinating Insects Research Unit, Logan, UT
                [2 ]University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, 265 UCB-MCOL, Boulder, CO
                [3 ]Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, 216 Kottman Hall, Columbus, OH
                Article
                10.1093/jee/toz330
                © 2019

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