State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Bombus lapidarius (Linnaeus, 1758)

  • Apis lapidaria Linnaeus, 1758
  • Apis strenuus Harris, 1776
Vernacular Name
Stone Humble-bee, Large Red-tailed Humble-bee, Red-tailed bumblebee
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Pollinator species
One of 18 species of the subgenus Melanobombus. 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 and north Africa, east to the Urals and possibly the Ob). A very common species, with large queens, a short tongue, emerging in early spring, and usually nesting below the surface of the ground (though sometimes on the surface under objects, or above the surface in cavities). This species has a relatively short period of male activity when males may be very abundant. Colonies are often large. Bombus lapidarius is very widespread throughout mid-Europe. It is one of the commonest species after B. pascuorum and B. pratorum and before B. hortorum and B. terrestris. Northwards, it extends up to the Arctic Circle in Finland, but is uncommon beyond the latitude of Stockholm. Southwards, it is a common plain species down to the 45th parallel. More south, it becomes a mountain ad even alpine species. The most southern observation is in Morocco (ssp. atlanticus), in the alpine stage of Jbel Siroua (orig. data), between the High-Atlas and the Anti-Atlas. It is found in the west, in the Cordillera Cantabrica (ssp. decipiens) and in Ireland, but is absent from most of Scotland. In the east, it lives in the plains of Russia, up to the 60th parallel and, according to Panfilov (1981), it reaches Orenburg, south of the Ural Mts. The same author reports a single location in Siberia, N.-W. of Novosibirsk. South-east, B. lapidarius is present in the Caucasus (ssp. eriophorus), in N. Anatolia and in the mountains of Georgia and Armenia (ssp. caucasicus). It has not been reported from Iran. Throughout the plains of mid-Europe, the species is represented by its nominal lapidarius ssp., black with a red-tipped abdomen. The same holds for the Balkan and W. Anatolia mountains. Most of the populations from the southern mountains belong to subspecies with light-coloured stripes : atlanticus Benoist in the Atlas Mts., decipiens Pйrez in the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, caucasicus Radoszkowski in N. E. Anatolia and Transcaucasia and eriophorus Klug in the Caucasus. Whereas the lapidarius subspecies is common in most of its range, the southern, more or less montane light-striped subspecies are uncommon taxa.
Book reference
  • Iren KONOVALOVA, e-mail:

Taxonomic branch