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Bumblebee colonies produce larger foragers in complex landscapes

  • Anna Persson
  • Henrik Smith
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 695-702
Publication/Series: Basic and Applied Ecology
Volume: 12
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The negative effect of agricultural intensification on bumblebee populations is thought to partly be caused by loss of food plants, for example because of increased field size and concomitant loss of non-crop field borders and their nectar and pollen plants. Earlier studies have focused on how loss of foraging resources affects colony growth and thereby abundance of workers and sexual reproduction. By comparing bumblebees in agricultural landscapes of different complexity in Southern Sweden, we here demonstrate that also the adult size of bumblebee foragers is significantly related to the availability of foraging resources. This effect was independent of both species identity and foraging habitat type. This suggests a shortage of flower resources in landscapes of lower complexity, which may also affect the reproductive success of colonies negatively.


  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology
  • MFC
  • Landscape ecology
  • Agriculture
  • Forager size
  • Workers
  • Bombus spp.


  • ISSN: 1618-0089
Henrik Smith
E-mail: henrik [dot] smith [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56




Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC)

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56


Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden