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Bumble Bees of North America:
An Identification Guide
Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson & Sheila R. Colla

Paperback | 2014 | $24.95 | ($17.47) / £16.95 | (£11.87) | ISBN: 9780691152226
208 pp. | 6 x 9 | 150 color illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400851188 |
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More than ever before, there is widespread interest in studying bumble bees and the critical role they play in our ecosystems. Bumble Bees of North America is the first comprehensive guide to North American bumble bees to be published in more than a century. Richly illustrated with color photographs, diagrams, range maps, and graphs of seasonal activity patterns, this guide allows amateur and professional naturalists to identify all 46 bumble bee species found north of Mexico and to understand their ecology and changing geographic distributions.

The book draws on the latest molecular research, shows the enormous color variation within species, and guides readers through the many confusing convergences between species. It draws on a large repository of data from museum collections and presents state-of-the-art results on evolutionary relationships, distributions, and ecological roles. Illustrated keys allow identification of color morphs and social castes.

A landmark publication, Bumble Bees of North America sets the standard for guides and the study of these important insects.

  • The best guide yet to the 46 recognized bumble bee species in North America north of Mexico
  • Up-to-date taxonomy includes previously unpublished results
  • Detailed distribution maps
  • Extensive keys identify the many color patterns of species

Paul H. Williams is a research entomologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Robbin W. Thorp is professor emeritus of entomology at the University of California, Davis. Leif L. Richardson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Dartmouth College. Sheila R. Colla is an NSERC postdoctoral fellow and project leader at Wildlife Preservation Canada.


"A very helpful guide for any one interested in bumble bees."--Amanda Williams,

"As bee populations plummet and environmental concerns continue to make the news, there is widespread interest in bees. This attractively priced guide helps users identify the 46 species found north of Mexico and offers insight into their ecology and habitats. . . . This guide will be useful in public and academic libraries where there is an interest in bees or the environment."--Rebecca Vnuk, Booklist

"Identif[ies] the 46 species of bumblebee that are found in North America (Mexico is not included), far more than previous guides. The introduction presents clear information on these bees generally, their distribution, colony cycle, and interactions with plants. . . . An attractive, worthwhile purchase."--Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal

"Because of their importance as a pollinator, their ubiquity (in various species, of course) across the continent, and simply because the lives and behaviors bumble bees are so fascinating, Bumble Bees of North America should be considered as a must-read by all amateur naturalists. Professionals--be they entomologists, ecologists, general biologists, and most especially teachers of life science subjects at all levels--would also do well to add it to their reading lists for both its superb introduction to the genus as well as its value as a reference guide."--John Riutta, Well-read Naturalist

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Table of Contents


Subject Areas:


Worker Bombus fraternus
Worker Bombus fraternus
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Bee Life Cycle
Bee Life Cycle
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Worker bumblebees foraging
Worker bumblebees foraging
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    File created: 9/19/2015

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