How the humblebee became the bumblebee

Darwin's name for the bee was replaced in the 20th century

Whatever happened to the humblebee, the old name for the bumblebee, asked Angus Doulton of Oxfordshire in a letter to the Guardian last week.

When Darwin, or indeed any of his contemporaries, wrote of the animated bundles of fluff, he would have called them humblebees. But they weren't humble in the sense of lowly beings doing the drudge work of nectar and pollen collecting; rather they would have been celebrated for the powerful evolutionary interaction with the flowers they had visited for millions of years. Darwin would have called them humblebees because, as they fly, they hum. Simple.

Continue reading…

Previous Post
Next Post