Bumble Bee Diversity of West Virginia: A changing community of species.

Hunter Lee Aliff, Sean Anthony Collins

Abstract


The goal of our research is to assess the overall diversity of and to evaluate the presence and relative abundance of bumble bee species (Bombus), in West Virginia both spatially and temporally. Over the last 3 field seasons, we have collected bumble bees from a variety of field sites throughout Kanawha County to determine local population numbers and community structure and to compare these data to similar trends across the state. Additionally, to determine whether community structure of Bombus has changed over time, we incorporated data from statewide collections and museum collections dating back to 1915. Our data indicated that the bumble bee community of Kanawha County currently is dominated (~95% of total specimens collected) by three species (Bombus impatiens, B. bimaculatus and B. griseocollis). Our statewide data showed the same trend with regards to those species being dominant and that the bumble bee fauna of WV significantly skewed. As one would expect, the community structure of Bombus from 1915 to present indicated a loss of species from certain areas and that overall the diversity of bumble bees in the Mountain State has suffered significantly.


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