Heather Hines, assistant professor of biology, has studied bumblebees around the world. With 250 species, and over 600 different color patterns, bumblebees are a vivid example of adaptive radiation -- and a powerful system for the study of evolutionary genetics.
A bumblebee local to central Pennsylvania. Though of different species, this bee and the one in the following image appear similar because they represent a local mimetic pattern.
A bumblebee local to central Pennsylvania.
Mimetic color form from east-central Burma. This color pattern is represented by four species in the region, and is restricted to an area less than 20km in radius. The bee in the picture is Bombus haemorrhoidalis.
A bumblebee from Sweden.
Bombus vosnesenkii, a Pacific coastal mimetic pattern, incubating its brood.
Chart depicting mimetic color forms and their ranges of the Southeast Asian bumblebee species Bombus trifasciatus. While the color pattern highlighted in red and reddish gray in central China is argued to be a “ground plan” color pattern for bumblebees and is not strongly mimetic, the rest of the color patterns are all part of different local mimicry complexes.