Thursday, January 21, 2016

Prof. Dr. Otto Schmiedeknecht

Prof. Dr. Otto Schmiedeknecht was a German entomologist who specialised in Hymenoptera. He was born September 8, 1847 in Bad Blankenburg, Thüringen, Germany and grew up in the town Stadtilm. When he was a young boy his father, Johann Friedrich Schmiedeknecht a “Rektor” (the head of a German university) would take him with him to animal observations. In 1861, he attended the Gymnasium in Rudolstadt and in 1868 the University of Göttingen were he studied science and modern languages. After the Franco-German war in 1870, which he took part as a volunteered, he returned home and finished his studies. In 1872 he received a job as a teacher of natural history and modern languages ​at Kahla (Thuringia, Germany) were he began his scientific work on Hymenoptera.
In Jena, a German university town, he earned his doctorate with the famous Ernst Haeckel with a thesis on the genus Bombus. A year later he married his wife Hede and they moved to Blankenburg.
Dr. Schmiedeknecht travelled and researched a lot, especially in the Mediterranean region. He visited the Balearic Islands, the Greek Ionian island of Zakynthos, North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Java in Southeast Asia ect.
In 1903 Dr.Schmiedeknecht was the successor in the office of the Custodian of the  Natural History Museum in Thuringer Landesmuseum Heidecksburg.
In recognition of his scientific achievements, the city of Blankenburg gave him on the occasion of his 80th birthday (1927) the title of “honorary citizen”.
On February 11, 1936 Professor Dr. Otto Schmiedeknecht died in his home, Schwarzenburgerstrasse No 5,
Blankenburg. He left to future generation a large number of publications and preparations and his life's work was the treatment of parasitic wasps in the about 45 books of "Opuscula Ichneumologica".
Notable publications among others are:
  • 1902-1936. Opuscula Ichneumonologica. Blankenburg in Thüringen.1902pp.
  • 1907. Hymenopteren Mitteleuropas. Gustav Fischer. Jena. 804pp.
  • 1914. Die Schlupfwespen (Ichneumonidae) Mitteleuropas, insbesondere deutschlands. In: Schoeder C. "Die Insekten Mitteleuropas". Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart. pp. 113-170.
Some of which can be found here:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group - Commercial Bumblebee Policy Statement

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN was founded in 1948 as the world’s first global environmental organisation and today is the largest professional global conservation network. Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN... more info on IUCN can be found here:

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) is a science-based network of more than 10,000 volunteer experts from almost every country of the world and its major role is to provide information to IUCN on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and their support to human livelihoods. The SSC operates a multitude of specialist groups and task forces under its wing. Each group is specifically inclined towards the conservation of a specific taxon or organismal grouping. Each specialist group usually has its own members, agenda, official website and publishes its own scientific journal or newsletter.

After the 2010 proposal to establish an IUCN Bombus Specialist Group the Bumblebee Specialist Group was formed with more than 70 scientists worldwide and with initial priorities to implement a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the global status of all bumblebee species, based on the IUCN Red List criteria, as well as to promote bumblebee conservation worldwide.

The Bumblebee Specialist Group (BBSG) first report was out in 2012, if you like you can read it here:

and for 2013 and 2014 activities...

The IUCN BBSG issues the following statement addressing the serious risks posed by transport of bumblebees for commercial pollination

The global trade in bumblebee colonies for crop pollination, most notably of the European species Bombus terrestris, has resulted in the establishment of this bumblebee species far from its native range, for example in Japan, Chile and Argentina. Invasive, non-native bumblebee species pose multiple risks to native species, including: competition, hybridization resulting in loss of locally adapted ecotypes, and introduction of nonnative bee diseases. There is evidence that parasites from commercial bumblebees may have been irreversibly introduced to Japan, North America and South America, with potentially profound impacts on native bumblebees.

The IUCN BBSG considers that the commercial movement and deployment of bumblebees for pollination should be governed by the precautionary principle to prevent unintended harm. Local bumblebee species and subspecies should be targeted for commercial development and produced within their native ranges. All commercial bumblebees should be thoroughly screened for parasites by both producers and independent regulators. All use of commercial bumblebees should be controlled to eliminate the risk of escape from greenhouses.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Optimization of detection of black queen cell virus from Bombus terrestris via real-time PCR

Volume 18, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 9–12
  • a Department of Biology, Kyung Sung University, Pusan 608-736, Republic of Korea
  • b Department of Plant Medicine, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Republic of Korea


The bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, plays an important role as one of alternative pollinators since the outbreak of honeybee colony collapse disorder. Recently, pathogens and parasites such as viruses, bacteria and mites affecting the life span and fecundity of their host have been discovered in B. terrestris. In this study, in order to detect viral infection in B. terrestris, we collected B. terrestris adults and isolated total RNA for diagnostic PCR. The PCR primers specific for pathogenic viruses were newly designed and applied to gene amplification for cloning and detection. Capsid protein gene of black queen cell virus (BQCV) among examined viral genes was only successfully amplified from collected bumblebee adults and sequenced. To optimize the detection of capsid protein gene of BQCV, 4 regions in the capsid protein gene were selected and further analyzed in quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The qRT-PCR analysis revealed that capsid protein gene was directly detected with below 200 ng total RNA. This result suggests that an optimized detection via qRT-PCR can be applied for the rapid and sensitive diagnosis of BQCV infection in the field population as well as risk assessment of B. terrestris.



• BQCV polyprotein was amplified from field population of Bombus terrestris.
• Detection of BQCV was optimized via qRT-PCR with below 200 ng total RNA.
• An optimized detection via qRT-PCR can be applied for diagnosis of BQCV as well as risk assessment of Bombus terrestris.


  • Quantitative real-time PCR;
  • Black queen cell virus;
  • Rapid diagnosis;
  • Risk assessment