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Discovery of new species of Honeybee in the Western Ghats

Published: 11th Nov, 2022


A new species of endemic honeybee has been discovered in the Western Ghats.


About the Discovery:

  • The new species has been named Apis karinjodian and given the common name Indian black honeybee.
  • It is after a gap of more than 200 years that a new species of honeybee has been spotted in the Western Ghats.
  • The last honeybee described from India was Apis indica in 1798 by Fabricius.
    • Although Fabricius named the Indian bee Apis indica, it was not considered a valid species till now.
  • While proving the distinct identity of Apis indica, led to the discovery of Apis karinjodian.
  • The research team restored the status of Apis indica based on a new measure for species discrimination in honeybees termed ‘Radio-Medial Index (RMI)’.

Apis karinjodian:

  • Apis karinjodian, the Indian black honey bee, is a species of genus Apis that was reported recently from India.
  • Apis karinjodian has evolved from Apis cerana morphotypes that got acclimatized to the hot and humid environment of the Western Ghats.
  • Range of Apis karinjodian: The distribution of Apis karinjodian ranges from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Conservation status: This species is considered a near-threatened species as per the IUCN Red List.
  • Pollinator: Bees act as vectors that move pollen within the flower and from flower to flower, this process is called pollinator. There are two categories of pollinators:
  • Invertebrate pollinators: Include bees, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and butterflies. More than 40 per cent of invertebrate pollinator species – particularly bees and butterflies – face extinction.
  • Vertebrate pollinators: Include monkeys, rodents, lemurs, tree squirrels, and birds. Around 16.5% of vertebrate pollinators are threatened with extinction.

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