- Megabombus armeniacus (Radoszkowski, 1877)
- Bombus pallasi Vogt, 1909
- Fervidobombus scythes Skorikov, 1925
IUCN: EN; RDBUkr: Зникаючі
Value of species
IUCN: Endangered A3c (Regional assessment)
Bombus armeniacus is included in the National Red Lists or Red Data Books of the following two European countries: Czech Republic (Regionally Extinct; Farkac et al., 2005) and Ukraine (Red Data Book..., 2009).
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, Oriental border. Bombus armeniacus belongs to the pomorum-group (formerly sg. Rhodobombus). The range of B. armeniacus is restricted to true steppes. It extends discontinuously from the surroundings of Vienna (Austria) to the West to Ulan-Bator (Mongolia) to the East and from the Mazandaran (N. Iran) to the surroundings of Kazan, in the Volga basin (Russia).
A very isolated population is found in Burgenland and Nieder-Цsterreich (Austria) and S. Moravia (Czechia). Another, larger population thrives in Bulgaria. One specimen is mentioned from Rijeka (Croatia) by Pittioni (1938a), but this may be a mistake. Two specimens were collected in S. Macedonia. The species is not mentioned from Hungary and Romania.
It is found in Ukraine, in the Krim and in the lower valleys of the Dniepr and Don Rs. In European Russia, it is particularly present in the Volga valley, between Kazan and Volgograd. More east, it is found in Bashkiria and in the surroundings of Novosibirsk. In N. Anatolia, the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and N. Iran, it is quite common.
More east, it is widely spread in the Alai, the Altai and in the upper Ienissei valley. Isolated specimens have also been found near Irkutsk and Ulan-Bator. A subspecific differenciation has been suggested but is barely visible.
The species has disappeared from much of Eastern Europe. The population has likely declined by more than 30% in the last ten years, as the intensification of agriculture throughout its range led to widespread habitat loss. In addition, there was evidence of strong declines after the heat wave in 2003 and the following drought in 2004-2007; field observations revealed that the species was missing from many localities where it occurred 10 years previously (P. Rasmont pers. comm. 2013). Given past rates of habitat transformation and the impact of escalating threats, experts expect the rates of population decline to continue and even intensify in the future; the population is likely to decline by more than 50% in the next ten years, as a result of ongoing habitat loss and particularly the increasing impacts of climate change causing local population collapses (Rasmont and Iserbyt 2012, P. Rasmont pers. comm. 2013, V. Radchenko pers. comm. 2013). The species is now apparently confined to one major population in the Volga valley, with smaller, disjunct relict subpopulations in Ukraine and the Balkans.
A species of open, dry steppic grasslands. It is polylectic (that is, it collects pollen from a wide range of flowering plants) and known to exploit a wide range of floral resources for both nectar and pollen, particularly favouring Fabaceae.
- Iren KONOVALOVA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org