Apis koschevnikovi


Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Apini Latreille, 1802
Genus: Apis Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Apis (Apis) Linnaeus, 1758
Species: Apis koschevnikovi Enderlein, 1906
Common names: red honey bee, red hive bee, red cavity nesting honey bee


Apis koschevnikovi is somewhat distinctive due to its reddish metasoma and legs. It is also known as the red bee of Sabah; however, according to Hadisoesilo et al. (2008), its color changes with its distribution. It is pale reddish in the Sabah State or Borneo, Malaysia, but it has a dark, more coppery color in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, Indonesia. The body size of the worker is moderate (forewing length between 7.5–9 mm). Drones of A. koschevnikovi have a mating flight time that is different to the sympatric A. cerana drones (Koeniger et al. 1988). A. koschevnikovi is the host of the mite Varroa rinderi (De Guzman and Delfinado-Baker 1996).

Diagnostic characteristics

Host associations

As with all species of honey bees, A. koschevnikovi is a generalist and will exploit a large variety of plant resources for food.

Nesting behavior

Like all species in the subgenus Apis (Apis), nests of A. koschevnikovi are built in cavities (Rinderer et al. 1989). Drone cell caps have a distinctive pore. Very little is known about the biology, ecology, and natural history of this species (Rinderer et al. 1989); however, Engel (2012) reported that it prefers tropical evergreen forests.


The red honey bee can be found in Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Kalimatan (Tingek et al. 1996, Radloff et al. 2011, Gupta 2014). According to Rinderer (1988), the range and the population size of A. koschevnikovi are among the most important issues that require study for this species.

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<p>Fig 1, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female face, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 1, Apis koschevnikovi female face, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 2, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 2, Apis koschevnikovi female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 3, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 3, Apis koschevnikovi female abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 4, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> drone face, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 4, Apis koschevnikovi drone face, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 5, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> drone lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 5, Apis koschevnikovi drone lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 6, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> drone abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 6, Apis koschevnikovi drone abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 7, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female scutellum and axilla, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 7, Apis koschevnikovi female scutellum and axilla, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 8, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female hind leg, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 8, Apis koschevnikovi female hind leg, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 9, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> drone, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 9, Apis koschevnikovi drone, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 10, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 10, Apis koschevnikovi female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 11, <em>Apis koschevnikovi</em> female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 11, Apis koschevnikovi female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo