Moss Carder Bee

This week’s piece will be my last for 2014, but fear not, there’ll be more pollinator and plant related activity after the New Year.
Last week I wrote about the Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) and I mentioned how it’s very distinctive but how there is also one confusion species, that’s what I’ll be writing about this week.

The moss carder bee (Bombus Muscorum) showing a ginger thorax with blond hairs flanking. - Oisín Duffy

The moss carder bee (Bombus Muscorum) showing a ginger thorax with blond hairs flanking. – Oisín Duffy

The Moss Carder Bee (Bombus muscorumi) is an extremely beautiful bumblebee species which is highly distinctive. I generally only find this species in coastal locations, sand dunes and flower rich meadows (although it has been found in parklands and urban areas also).

Moss carder bee, showing its distinctive ginger thorax flanked with blond hair - Oisín Duffy

Moss carder bee, showing its distinctive ginger thorax flanked with blond hair – Oisín Duffy

The species has a characteristic blond appearance, a ginger thorax flanked with blond hairs coupled with an abdomen which varies from a blond/brown/ginger (but with the overall appearance being blond). The species does not have any black hairs on the abdomen, which is a feature distinguishing from the common carder bee. This is certainly a species which when you see it once, you’re not likely to forget it. It is also worth mentioning that this species is listed as “Near Threatened” in the Regional Red List of Irish Bees (Fitzpatrick et al, 2006). The main threat to the species is habitat loss. Bombus muscorum var. allenellus is a form of the species which is unique to the Aran Islands (which are located off the west coast of Co. Galway) which has black hairs on the thorax (if I am lucky enough to come across this species during the Summer I will make a special post for the variation).

Multiple shots of the moss carder bee showing its distinctive features and overall blond appearance. - Oisín Duffy

Multiple shots of the moss carder bee showing its distinctive features and overall blond appearance. – Oisín Duffy

If anyone out there has any questions or suggestion regarding this piece or maybe regarding future pieces, feel free to get in touch through twitter @OshDuffy. If you enjoy posts and especially images of plants and pollinators, then be sure to follow me on twitter also. Also feel free to check out my own personal blog which has concise versions my Bumblebee ID posts Oisin Duffy Nature Notes. I look forward to writing to you all again in 2015!

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