Apis nigrocincta


Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Apini Latreille, 1802
Genus: Apis Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Apis (Apis) Linnaeus, 1758
Species: Apis nigrocincta Smith, 1861
Common names: none


Apis nigrocincta was resurrected after work by Hadisoesilo, et al. (1995) with discriminant analysis of different species of honey bee of Sulawesi, Indonesia. In this study, the authors found a group of bees different from A. cerana and A. koschevnikovi, and after further comparison with type material found that these bees were more similar to the holotype of A. nigrocincta described by Smith (1861). In addition to morphological differences, A. nigrocincta is also the only known host of the parasitic mite Varroa underwoodi, and studies on drone flight times also support the status of A. nigrocincta as a separate species from Apis cerana (Hadisoesilo and Otis 1996, 1998; Otis et al. 2001).

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Hind wing with distal abscissa of vein M absent.
  • Mesoscutellum yellow-brown, very rarely black (Fig 5 and 7).
  • Drones without metabasitibial process.
  • Body size moderate (forewing length between 7–9 mm).
  • Clypeus rusty yellowish (Fig 1 and 4).
  • Antennal scape reddish-brown (Fig 1, 4, and 7).
  • Legs reddish-brown (Fig 2 and 6).
  • Pubescence of body reddish-tan.

Host associations

As with all species of honey bees, A. nigrocincta is generalist and visits a broad range of plants for food.

Nesting behavior

A. nigrocincta nest in cavities. Compared with other species in the subgenus Apis, this species produces more drones under normal conditions. Very little else is known about this species' nesting behavior.

More recently, Hadisoesilo and Otis (1998) showed that the capping of the drone cells in A. nigrocincta lack the pore (the drone cell has a narrow opening, without hard wax cap and with a hole) that is present in drone’s cells of Apis cerana.


To the present, there is no information regarding any variation among the different populations of A. nigrocincta, but due to the restricted distribution of the species in Southesast Asia, it is very likely that it’s a uniform species.

In terms of the internal anatomy, Chaiyawong, et al. (2001) showed differences in the morphology of the sting apparatus of A. nigrocincta when compared with those of A. cerana.


This species is restricted to Indonesia and the Philippines (Otis 1996, Damus and Otis 1997, Radloff et al. 2011): specifically Sulawesi (Indonesia), Mindanao, and Sangihe (Philippines).

​Distribution map generated by Discover Life -- click on map for details, credits, and terms of use.

<p>Fig 1, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> female face, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 1, Apis nigrocincta female face, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 2, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 2, Apis nigrocincta female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 3, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> female abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 3, Apis nigrocincta female abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 4, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> female clypeus, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 4, Apis nigrocincta female clypeus, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 5, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> dorsal view of thorax, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 5, Apis nigrocincta dorsal view of thorax, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 6, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> legs reddish-brown, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 6, Apis nigrocincta legs reddish-brown, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 7, <em>Apis nigrocincta</em> female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 7, Apis nigrocincta female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo