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

  • Clara Jabal-Uriel Consejería de Agricultura de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, IRIAF. Centro Agrario de Marchamalo, Marchamalo, 19180 Guadalajara
  • Raquel Martín-Hernández Consejería de Agricultura de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, IRIAF. Centro Agrario de Marchamalo, Marchamalo, 19180 Guadalajara
  • Concepcion Ornosa Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Biología, Dept. Zoología y Antropología Física, 28040 Madrid
  • Mariano Higes Consejería de Agricultura de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, IRIAF. Centro Agrario de Marchamalo, Marchamalo, 19180 Guadalajara
  • Eduardo Berriatua Universidad de Murcia, Facultad de Veterinaria, Dept. Sanidad Animal, 30100 Murcia
  • Pilar De la Rua Universidad de Murcia, Facultad de Veterinaria, Dept. Zoología y Antropología Física, 30100 Murcia
Keywords: pollinators, pathogen dispersion, PCR, Apicystis bombi, Crithidia bombi, Nosema bombi


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.


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How to Cite
Jabal-UrielC., Martín-HernándezR., OrnosaC., HigesM., BerriatuaE., & De la RuaP. (2017). Short communication: First data on the prevalence and distribution of pathogens in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris and Bombus pascuorum) from Spain. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 15(1), e05SC01.
Animal health and welfare