Tribe: Apini Latreille, 1802
Genus: Apis Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Apis (Apis) Linnaeus, 1758
Species: Apis nuluensis Tingek, Koeniger, & Koeniger, 1996
Common names: none
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.
|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|
|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|
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).
As with all species of honey bees, A. nuluensis is generalist and visits a broad range of plants for food.
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.
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.