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The taxonomic status of closely related bumble bee species is often unclear. The relationship between the two nominate taxa, Bombus melanopygus Nylander (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Bombus edwardsii Cresson (Hymenoptera: Apidae), was investigated using genetic (enzyme electrophoretic) and morphometric analyses. The taxa differ in the color of the abdominal terga two and three, being ferruginous in B. melanopygus and black in B. edwardsii. B. edwardsii occurs throughout California, while B. melanopygus extends north through Oregon, to Alaska and Canada. They are sympatric only in southern Oregon and northern California. The taxonomic status of these taxa was questioned when Owen and Plowright (1980) reared colonies from queens collected in the area of sympatry, and discovered that pile coloration was due to a single, biallelic Mendelian gene, with the red (R) allele dominant to the black (r). Here it is shown that all the taxa, whether from California, Oregon, or Alberta, have the same electrophoretic profile and cannot be reliably distinguished by wing morphometrics. This strongly supports the conclusion that B. melanopygus and B. edwardsii are conspecific and should be synonymized under the name B. melanopygus. Hence, there is a gene frequency cline running from north to south, where the red allele is completely replaced by the black allele over a distance of about 600 km.