Apis nuluensis

Taxonomy

Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Apini Latreille, 1802
Genus: Apis Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Apis (Apis) Linnaeus, 1758
Species: Apis nuluensis Tingek, Koeniger, & Koeniger, 1996
Common names: none

Overview

Honey bees of the species Apis nuluensis have a medium size, a darker coloration of the body, and conspicuous four whitish tomentae in the metasoma. The species is found at altitudes close to 2000 m in the mountains of Gunung Emas (Mt. Kinabalu highlands and Croker range), Borneo. A. nuluensis is the host of the parasite Varroa underwoodi.

Tingek, et al. (1996) produced the following table to show some of the morphometric and morphological characters of the workers used to separate this species from similar and sympatric species:

Character A. nuluensis A. koschevnikovi A. cerana
hair length (T5) 0.23 ± 0.016 mm 0.15 ± 0.02 mm 0.15 ± 0.09 mm
pigment, integument black rufous black
fore and hind legs femur light brown, tibia black femur light brown, tibia light brown femur black, tibia black
length forewing 8.08 ± 0.09 mm 8.46 ± 0.11 mm 7.42 ± 0.09 mm
width forewing 2.78 ± 0.07 mm 2.98 ± 0.05 mm 2.60 ± 0.05 mm
cubital index 3.77 ± 0.12 7.64 ± 1.40 3.74 ± 0.23

Diagnostic characteristics

May be confused with

The species status of Apis nuluensis has been controversial. It was proposed as a new species of honey bee by Tingek, et al. (1996) based on morphometric measurements. In the same year, Fuchs, et al. (1996) used a principal component analysis to show that A. nuluensis is a separate species from other sympatric species such as A. cerana and A. koschevnikovi. In addition, Koeniger, et al. (1996) demonstrated that the drone mating period for A. nuluensis was different from that of A. koschevnikovi and just a little overlapped with that of A. cerana. In the same study, they showed that physical differences between these latter two species were enough to avoid heterospecific mating. Arias, et al. (1996), analyzing the ND2 mitochondrial gene and the intron EF-1∞, showed that A. nuluensis and A. cerana are separate but closely related species, and that A. nuluensis probably derived from A. cerana. More recently, Tanaka, et al. (2001) confirmed the species status of A. nuluensis based on molecular data, using three mitochondrial genes: 16S ribosomal RNA (16S) and cytochrome oxidases subunit 1 and 2 (CO1 and CO2).

Host associations

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

Nesting behavior

The nesting behavior of A. nuluensis is presently unknown, but because it belongs to the subgenus Apis and is closely related to Apis cerana, it is suspected that the species nests in cavities, and that its nest has multiple parallel combs.

Distribution

This species is known from montane forests of Gunung Emas (Mount Kinabalu and Crocker Range) in the Sabah State of Malaysian Borneo; it has been only found on mountains above 1700 m.

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

<p><em>A. nuluensis</em> worker, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
A. nuluensis worker, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p><em>Apis nuluensis</em> worker mesoscutellum reddish-brown to dark brown, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Apis nuluensis worker mesoscutellum reddish-brown to dark brown, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p><em>Apis nuluensis</em> worker mid and hind femora light brown and mid and hind tibiae black, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Apis nuluensis worker mid and hind femora light brown and mid and hind tibiae black, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p><em>Apis nuluensis</em> metasoma with four conspicuous whitish tomenta, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Apis nuluensis metasoma with four conspicuous whitish tomenta, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p><em>Apis nuluensis </em>female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Apis nuluensis female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo