Species profile: Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee

Suckley’s cuckoo bumble bee (Bombus suckleyi) is named after a physician and naturalist who explored Oregon and Washington in the 1850s.

This species is a social parasite of the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis). It has been found in the mountainous areas of western North America from Colorado to Alaska. However, there have only been a few observations in the past 20 years with the last in 2017 in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Its decline is linked to the decline of its host species the western bumble bee. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service earlier in 2020 to get this species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Bombus suckleyi hasn’t been found by Oregon Bee Atlas volunteers, but finding this species would greatly help its conservation.

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