Monday, 22 March 2010

BUMBLEBEE: Bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) in Bowland, Lancashire

June 16, 2009:
In bright sunshine, on short grazed upland pasture near Tower Lodge (where photographed) there were hundreds of this bumblebee pollinating buttercups (Ranunculus sp.).

It is an upland/montane species mainly found in the north and west of Britain where it especially pollinates bilberry (hence its name). However, it also visits many other flowers if the bilberry is not flower. It emerges in early Spring and nests on or just below the ground. It is very striking in appearance and is easily recognised by its bright red-orange abdomen. It is thought to be declining in Scotland.

In both photgraphs, pollen grains can be seen attached to its legs.

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