State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Bombus ruderarius (Muller, 1776)

  • Apis ruderaria Muller, 1776
  • Apis derhamella Kirby, 1802
  • derhamellus (Kirby, 1802)
  • montanus Lepeletier, 1835
  • raellus (Kirby, 1802)
Vernacular Name
Red-shanked Carder-bee, Red-shanked bumblebee
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Pollinator species
L√łken, 1973; Pawlikowski, 1996
One of 51 species of the subgenus Thoracobombus. One of 250 world known species of the genus Bombus, and one of 40 bumblebee species in the fauna of Ukraine. Distribution: Palaearctic Region. Europe east to the Caspian and in the Tien Shan. A small species with a mid-length tongue, emerging in early spring, and nesting on the surface of the ground. Colonies are small and relatively mild tempered when disturbed. B. ruderatus is common in western Europe, specially in its Mediterranean zone. In latitude, its distribution ranges from the Moroccan Atlas, N. Algeria, N. Tunisia and S. Italy to the south of Sweden, Lithuania and Belarus. To the west, the species extends to the whole Iberian Peninsula, Madeira, the Azores, and England. It is very rare in Wales and probably absent from Ireland. The eastern limit of its range is less clear, though it includes Poland, Hungary and Slovakia and seems to reach Ukraine. Efremova (1991) mentions some findings in the upper Volga (Ulyanovskaya Oblast, Kuybyshevskaya Oblast), i. e. largely beyond the main range of the species. In S.-E. France, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary, its distribution appears to be limited by that of B. argillaceus. B. ruderatus is also present in most of the Italian Peninsula, south of Toscana. Besides, B. ruderatus has been imported in New Zealand and in Chile. Within this vast area, the species includes several subspecies. The nominal subspecies is the common form on Madeira and in the greater part of the Iberian Peninsula. B. ruderatus siculus is found in the far-south of Spain, in the north of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, in Sicily and the south of the Italian Peninsula. B. ruderatus perniger is found in the British Is. and is probably the origin of the populations exported to New-Zealand and Chile. B. ruderatus autumnalis lives in the larger part of W. Europe. The well differentiated subspecies corsicola and sardiniensis live respectively in Corsica and in Sardinia. [[The range of Bombus ruderarius extends over a large part of the West-Palaearctic region. In the Iberian peninsula, it is found in the northern mountain ridges, where the form montanus coexists with the nominal subspecies. The nominal subspecies is present in Ireland, Great-Britain and in Fennoscandia, around the Gulf of Bothnia, where it reaches the Arctic Circle. In Russia, the nominal subspecies and the form montanus are found, grossly, between the 50th and 60th parallels. The eastern limits of the species are in SW. Siberia and in the mountains of E. Turkestan (ssp. sartus). Southwards, the range of B. ruderarius extends to the south of the Italian peninsula and in the Balkan, to the Parnassos Mt. (Greece) without including, however, the Mediterranean littoral and the large Mediterranean islands. The subspecies B. ruderarius tunensis is endemic to E. Algeria and N. Tunisia. The nominal subspecies is found in W. Anatolia, whereas B. ruderarius simulatilis lives in the mountains of Anatolia, the Caucasus region and N. Iran. There appears to be a wide discontinuity between the populations of this region and those of the S. Russia plains. As it is for B. sylvarum, the distribution of B. ruderarius is patchy; ranging from very rare (as in N. Africa), to very common : in some places of the E. Pyrenees, the species may account for more than the half of all the observed bumblebees]] .
Book reference
  • Iren KONOVALOVA, e-mail:

Taxonomic branch