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1 August 2015 The Rarity of Host Species Affects the Co-Extinction Risk in Socially Parasitic Bumblebee Bombus (Psithyrus) Species
Jukka Suhonen, Janina Rannikko, Jouni Sorvari
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Abstract

In this study, we investigated whether social parasitic species would be more threatened than their host species. Cuckoo bumblebees Bombus (Psithyrus) (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombini) live in naturally-fragmented environments composed of host bumblebee (Bombus) colonies upon which they are exclusively dependent. We collected literature data on ten social parasitic cuckoo bumblebee species and their host bumblebee species in Europe. We found that cuckoo bumblebee species are more vulnerable to extinction than their hosts. When we controlled for the host species threat index, extinction risk was unexpectedly lower in specialist than generalist species. Finally, we showed a co-extinction risk of host bumblebee species and their social parasitic species — if a host species was threatened, the cuckoo bumblebee species was also threatened, and vice versa. Thus, to lessen the risk of extinction of social parasitic cuckoo bumblebees, it is important to conserve their bumblebee host species.

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2015
Jukka Suhonen, Janina Rannikko, and Jouni Sorvari "The Rarity of Host Species Affects the Co-Extinction Risk in Socially Parasitic Bumblebee Bombus (Psithyrus) Species," Annales Zoologici Fennici 52(4), 236-242, (1 August 2015). https://doi.org/10.5735/086.052.0402
Received: 2 January 2015; Accepted: 27 April 2015; Published: 1 August 2015
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