Short communication: First data on the prevalence and distribution of pathogens in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris and Bombus pascuorum) from Spain

Clara Jabal-Uriel, Raquel Martín-Hernández, Concepcion Ornosa, Mariano Higes, Eduardo Berriatua, Pilar De la Rua


Bumblebees provide pollination services not only to wildflowers but also to economically important crops. In the context of the global decline of pollinators, there is an increasing interest in determining the pathogen diversity of bumblebee species. In this work, wild bumblebees of the species Bombus terrestris and Bombus pascuorum from northern and southern Spain were molecularly screened to detect and estimate prevalence of pathogens. One third of bumblebees were infected: while viruses only infected B. pascuorum, B. terrestris was infected by Apicystis bombi, Crithidia bombi and Nosema bombi. Ecological differences between host species might affect the success of the pathogens biological cycle and consequently infection prevalence. Furthermore, sex of the bumblebees (workers or males), sampling area (north or south) and altitude were important predictors of pathogen prevalence. Understanding how these factors affect pathogens distribution is essential for future conservation of bumblebee wild populations.


pollinators; pathogen dispersion; PCR; Apicystis bombi; Crithidia bombi; Nosema bombi

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017151-9998