South American native bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) infected by Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia), an emerging pathogen of honeybees (Apis mellifera)

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2009 Apr;1(2):131-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2009.00018.x. Epub 2009 Feb 19.


As pollination is a critical process in both human-managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems, pollinators provide essential services to both nature and humans. Pollination is mainly due to the action of different insects, such as the bumblebee and the honeybee. These important ecological and economic roles have led to widespread concern over the recent decline in pollinator populations that has been detected in many regions of the world. While this decline has been attributed in some cases to changes in the use of agricultural land, the effects of parasites could play a significant role in the reduction of these populations. For the first time, we describe here the presence of Nosema ceranae, an emerging honeybee pathogen, in three species of Argentine native bumblebees. A total of 455 bumblebees belonging to six species of genus Bombus were examined. PCR results showed that three of the species are positive to N. ceranae (Bombus atratus, Bombus morio and Bombus bellicosus). We discuss the appearance of this pathogen in the context of the population decline of this pollinators.