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Cryptic Bumblebee Species: Consequences for Conservation and the Trade in Greenhouse Pollinators

Williams, Paul H. and An, Jiandong and Brown, Mark J. F. and Carolan, James C. and Goulson, Dave and Huang, Jiaxing and Ito, Masao (2012) Cryptic Bumblebee Species: Consequences for Conservation and the Trade in Greenhouse Pollinators. PLoS ONE, 7 (3). e32992. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Commercial greenhouse growers in both Japan and China are increasingly using reared orange-tailed bumblebees known previously as Bombus hypocrita Perez as pollinators. Phylogenetic analysis of the DNA (COI) barcodes with Bayesian methods shows that this "species" is a long-standing confusion of two cryptic species. We find that the orange-tailed bumblebees in North China are actually part of the widespread Russian (otherwise white-tailed) B. patagiatus Nylander (as B. patagiatus ganjsuensis Skorikov, n. comb.), whereas the orange-tailed bees in Japan are true B. hypocrita. This situation has been further complicated because two other cryptic species from North China that were previously confused with the Russian B. patagiatus are now recognised as separate: B. lantschouensis Vogt n. stat. and B. minshanensis Bischoff n. stat.. As demand for pollination services by greenhouse growers inevitably increases, these bees are more likely to be transported between countries. In order to conserve genetic resources of pollinator species for their option value for future food security, we advocate preventing trade and movement of B. patagiatus from China into Japan and of B. hypocrita from Japan into China.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2012 Williams et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032992 . Financial support provided by the UK Research Councils' SynTax programme, Science Foundation Ireland grant, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30901055), the China National 948 Project (2011-S1), the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201203080), and the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-45). The funding agencies had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: Cryptic Bumblebee Species; Conservation; Trade; Greenhouse Pollinators; Phylogenetic analysis; DNA (COI) barcodes;
Subjects: Science & Engineering > Biology
Item ID: 3782
Depositing User: James Carolan
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 16:01
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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