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Nature in Shetland

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Shetland Entomological Group



None of these lists can be reproduced without written permission from SEG or SBRC.

bees, wasps, ants and allies
compiled by Mike Pennington
Only the social Aculeata (bees, wasps and ants) have been studied. Several species of solitary wasps, sawflies and ichneumon flies also occur but no detailed studies have been carried out on these groups.


Siricidae (wood wasps)
[Uroceros gigas Wood Wasp AI: occasionally found in imported timber.]
Tenthredinidae (sawflies)
Nematus ribesii Gooseberry Sawfly R (AI?)
Ichneumonidae (ichneumon flies)
[Rhyssa persuasororia AI: one in imported pipes, Lerwick, July 1995.]
Ichneumon suspiciosus R: common throughout the islands. June-August.
Formicidae (ants)
Myrmica ruginodis Nylander  R: locally common throughout the islands: the only species of ant to occur in the islands.
Lenchodryinus ruficornis  R?: Fetlar, August 1974.
Vespidae (social wasps)
Dolichovespula norwegica Fabr.  Norwegian Wasp  V: one record - Fair Isle in August 1991. Several other vagrants have not been identified.
[Vespula germanica (Fabr.)  German Wasp  AI: one amongst fruit in a shop at Cunningsburgh in January 1993; others in similar circumstances have not been identified.]
Vespula vulgaris (Linn.) Common Wasp  R: recent colonist - one nest in Lerwick (probably this species) in 1989, then annually since 1993 with over 40 in Lerwick and Scalloway by 1995; signs of further expansion in 2004 with records at Eswick, central Mainland. For information on the wasp colonisation of Shetland click here.
[Vespa crabro (Linn.) Hornet  AI: one found dead indoors on Fetlar in May 2002 must have been brought by accident from elsewhere.]


Apidae (social bees)
[Apis mellifera (Linn.) Honey Bee  AI: not known to occur naturally, although hives are sometimes kept on Mainland.]
[Bombus soroeensis (Fabr.) Broken-banded Bumblebee  X?: a supposed old record from Yell has not been traced.]
Bombus leucorum (Vogt) Northern White-tailed Bumblebee  R: first recorded in 1949 and still rare in the 1970s but now common in gardens and crofting land throughout the islands except Fair Isle.; the ‘species’ magnus is now considered to be an ecotype. April-September.
Bombus jonellus (Kirby) Small Heath Bumblebee  R: scarce on moorland on Mainland, Muckle Roe and Unst at least, as the endemic subspecies vogti. May-September.
Bombus hortorum (Linn.) Garden Bumblebee  R: scarce, usually around gardens or crops, but widespread on Mainland, Whalsay and Unst at least, although there was one record from Fair Isle in June 2002. May-August.
Bombus muscorum (Linn.) ‘Shetland’ Bumblebee  R: very common throughout the islands as the subspecies agricolae Baker, which is also found in the Outer Hebrides. April-October.
Bombus distinguendus Morawitz Great Yellow Bumblebee  V: one record from Bressay in 1926.


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