For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Psithyrus.


Bombus (Psithyrus)
Bombus bohemicus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Genus: Bombus
Subgenus: Psithyrus

See text

Cuckoo bumblebees are members of the subgenus Psithyrus in the bumblebee genus Bombus. Until recently, the 28 species of Psithyrus were considered to constitute a separate genus.[1][2] They are a specialized socially parasitic lineage which parasitises the nests of 'true' bumblebees, resulting in the loss of the ability to collect pollen and establish their own nests. Cuckoo bumblebees do not create a worker caste and produce only male and female reproductives. They are considered inquilines in the colonies of 'true' bumblebees.

Cuckoo bumblebee females emerge from hibernation later than their host species to ensure that their host has had sufficient time to establish a nest. Before finding and invading a host colony, a Psithyrus female feeds directly from flowers until her ovaries are sufficiently developed, at which time she begins seeking a nest to invade. Once she has located and infiltrated a host colony, the Psithyrus female usurps the nest by killing or subduing the host queen. She then lays her own eggs, exploiting the host workers to feed her and her developing young through pheromones and/or physical attacks.

Selected species



  1. ^ Williams, P.H. 1994. Phylogenetic relationships among bumblebees (Bombus Latr.): A reappraisal of morphological evidence. Systematic Entomology 19: 327-344.
  2. ^ Lhomme, Patrick; Hines, Heather M (2018-10-04). "Ecology and Evolution of Cuckoo Bumble Bees". Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 112 (3): 122–140. doi:10.1093/aesa/say031. ISSN 0013-8746.

Further reading

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?