Friday, March 22, 2013

Franklin's Bumblebee

Bombus franklini
When we hear about endangered creatures, the most prominent species in the spotlight tend to be bird, mammals, and other large vertebrates. But there are certainly endangered invertebrates as well, and the Franklin's Bumblebee is one of them.

No one has actually seen one of these bees since 2006, when a survey turned up only one worker. They live in a very small range between Oregon and California, and actually have the smallest range of any Bumblebee in the world.

The decline for Franklin's Bumblebee has been swift. They were still abundant back in the 1990s, but pesticides, habitat loss, and the introduction of new diseases have been devastating. It is very possible that they are already extinct.

The Franklin's Bumblebee is not the only Bee in danger though. Colony Collapse Disorder has led to a 96% decline in Honey Bees across the United States. The spread of infected, commercially raised Bees is thought to be a major contributor to this catastrophe. Unfortunately, the Franklin's Bumblebee, due to its tiny range, may not have survived this huge drop, and could be gone forever.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : United States
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Hymenoptera
Family : Apidae -- Genus : Bombus -- Species : B. franklini
Image : Thorp

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