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Extent of invasion of Tasmanian native vegetation by the exotic bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Apoidea: Apidae)


Hingston, AB and Marsden-Smedley, J and Driscoll, DA and Corbett, S and Fenton, J and Anderson, R and Plowman, C and Mowling, FA and Jenkin, MC and Matsui, K and Bonham, KJ and Ilowski, M and McQuillan, PB and Yaxley, BK and Reid, T and Storey, D and Poole, L and Mallick, SA and Fitzgerald, N and Kirkpatrick, JB and Febey, J and Harwood, A and Michaels, KF and Russell, MJ and Black, PG and Emmerson, L and Visoiu, MH and Morgan, J and Breen, S and Gates, S and Bantich, MN and Desmarchelier, J, Extent of invasion of Tasmanian native vegetation by the exotic bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Apoidea: Apidae), Austral Ecology, 27, (2) pp. 162-172. ISSN 1442-9985 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1046/j.1442-9993.2002.01179.x


Observations of the large earth bumblebee, Bombus terrestris (L.), in native vegetation were collated to determine the extent to which this exotic species has invaded Tasmanian native vegetation during the first 9 years after its introduction. The range of B. terrestris now encompasses all of Tasmania's major vegetation types, altitudes from sea level to 1260 m a.s.l., and the entire breadth of annual precipitation in the state from more than 3200 mm to less than 600 mm. Observations of workers carrying pollen, together with the presence of large numbers of bumblebees at many localities across this range indicate that colonies are frequently established in native vegetation. Evidence that colonies are often successful was obtained from repeated observations of the species during more than 1 year at particular sites. Unequivocal evidence of colonies was obtained from six National Parks, including four of the five in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA). Indeed, the species has been present in the WHA for at least as long as it has in the city of Hobart, where it was first recorded. In southwestern Tasmania, evidence of colonies was obtained up to 40 km from gardens, 61 km from small towns and 93 km from large towns. Hence, contrary to previous suggestions, the species is established in the most remote parts of Tasmania and is not dependent on introduced garden plants. Given their strong record of invasion, it is likely that B. terrestris will form feral populations on the mainland of Australia and in many other parts of the world if introduced. Because of their likely negative impacts on native animals and plants, and potential to enhance seed production in weeds, the spread of bumblebees should be avoided.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Invertebrate Biology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species
Objective Field:Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified
Author:Hingston, AB (Mr Andrew Hingston)
Author:Driscoll, DA (Associate Professor Don Driscoll)
Author:Anderson, R (Ms Rachel Anderson)
Author:Mowling, FA (Ms Frances Mowling)
Author:Jenkin, MC (Ms Margaret Claire Jenkin)
Author:Bonham, KJ (Dr Kevin Bonham)
Author:McQuillan, PB (Mr Peter McQuillan)
Author:Yaxley, BK (Dr Belinda Yaxley)
Author:Mallick, SA (Mr Stephen Mallick)
Author:Fitzgerald, N (Mr Nicholas Fitzgerald)
Author:Kirkpatrick, JB (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
Author:Harwood, A (Dr Andrew Harwood)
Author:Michaels, KF (Dr Karyl Michaels)
Author:Russell, MJ (Dr Michael Russell)
Author:Emmerson, L (Dr Louise Emmerson)
Author:Visoiu, MH (Mr Micah Visoiu)
Author:Gates, S (Mr Simon Gates)
Author:Bantich, MN (Mr Mark Nicholas Bantich)
Author:Desmarchelier, J (Dr Jolyon Desmarchelier)
ID Code:24539
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2009-08-13

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