Dec 062011

Ryan FleacrestLet me start by saying that when I went looking for a song for this week’s Tuesday Tunes, I didn’t expect to find such a gem as this. All I wanted was something simple that would allow me to segue into some very cool insect news, but what I got instead was one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard, but which actually has some relevant biology included in the lyrics. That being said, consider yourself warned: there’s cool science ahead, but also some really, really, bad music!

The University of California Davis insect collection announced yesterday (with future taxonomic publication to come I assume) that they collected specimens of Bombus cockerelli Franklin 1913 for the first time since 1956. Collected again from it’s extremely restricted known range (a 300 square mile plot of land in New Mexico), this species is understandably rare in insect collections. There has apparently been considerable debate amongst Bombus experts over whether B. cockerelli represented a unique species or whether it was a variant of the much more common Bombus vagans, and with museum specimens 50+ years old, there has been no ability to compare DNA between species. Lead researcher Doug Yanega implies that molecular evidence obtained from these new specimens supports B. cockerelli as its own species, and it will be interesting to see in future publications how this species fits into the larger Bombus picture! Doug has some succinct comments on why it shouldn’t come as a surprise to rediscover an insect species thought to be “lost”, so I’d highly recommend giving the press release a read!

Bombus cockerelli from

Bombus cockerelli courtesy of (CC-BY-NC-SA)


Moving on to this week’s “killer” song, if you grew up in the late 90’s (or had offspring doing so), you’re probably familiar with the musical torture stylings torture that was Aqua, the Danish pop band responsible for the hit song Barbie Girl. This week I bring you another musical instrument of torture, Bumble Bees:

Well, did you catch the surprisingly accurate lyrics as pertaining to pollination biology? From the “Wham bam, thank you mam” insinuating the correct sex for flower visiting bees, to the fact that bumblebees regularly leave “donations” of pollen while “invading” deep flowers, the song is actually pretty good for biology. Even though it sounds horrible, Aqua get props for taking the time to pen some pollination biology into their “music”!


If you haven’t had enough, this song is available on iTunes – Bumble Bees – Aquarius

  5 Responses to “Tuesday Tunes – Bumble Bees – Aqua”

Comments (5)
  1. You heared it! You can’t un-hear it!

    • It’s even worse when it gets stuck in your head all day and you can’t do anything else but hum it randomly at the lab. You wouldn’t have any idea about that now would you Matt? 😉

  2. ummmmmmmmmmmmm……………………………

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