RESOURCES: Taking the Sting Out of Bumblebee Taxonomy

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Science  04 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5710, pp. 651
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5710.651d

They may be as close to cuddly as insects can get, but bumblebees give taxonomists headaches because different species inhabiting the same area often look alike. For help navigating the group's treacherous taxonomy, make a beeline for this site from entomologist Paul Williams of the Natural History Museum in London. His checklist of world bumblebees—the first published since 1923—attempts to tidy up the nomenclatural mess. You can find out which types of bees live in North America and Europe or search the site by bioregions, such as eastern Asia. The checklists discuss valid and invalid names for each kind of bee. To aid identification, the entries also include photos of the male bees' genitalia, a key feature for differentiating species.

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