Apis andreniformis


Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Apini Latreille, 1802
Genus: Apis Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Apis (Micrapis) Ashmead, 1904
Species: Apis andreniformis Smith, 1858
Common name: black dwarf honey bee


Apis andreniformis, commonly known as the black dwarf honey bee, is the smallest of all species of honey bees (between 6.5 mm and 9.5-10 mm), and along with Apis florea constitute the subgenus Micrapis (or dwarf honey bees). Wongsiri, et al. (1996) listed all the differences among the two species in the subgenus (see also fact sheet for subgenus Apis (Micrapis)).

Diagnostic characteristics

The most reliable characteristics to distinguish between A. florea and A. andreniformis (Hepburn and Randloff 2011, Gupta 2014, and Wongsiri et al. 1990) include:

  • Drone’s hind basitarsal process half or less the length of the hind basitarsus (Fig 8).
  • Structure on the endophallus: although A. andreniformis and A. florea have a pair of bursal cornua; in A. andreniformis, the fimbriate lobe has six protrusions and a more comparatively thick and straight terminal (see illustrations in Wongsiri, et al. 1990).
  • Jugal-vannal ratio of the worker’s hindwing (nearly 65 in A. andreniformis and 75 in A. florea).
  • Worker with integument of T2 deeply punctate (Fig 9).
  • Worker hind tibiae with marginal setae dark brown (Fig 10).
  • Worker forewing’s venation as shown in Fig 7.
  • Cubital index of the worker’s forewing (= close to 6 in A. andreniformis and 3 in A. florea).
  • Terminalia of female (including sting apparatus) as in Fig 11.

Host associations

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

Nesting behavior

Nests are exposed with horizontal comb that is built attached to tree branches.


Univariate morphometric studies by Rinderer, et al. (1995) in populations from Thailand and Palawan Island, Philippines had shown only differences in the length of wings and metatarsi. Multivariate morphometric analysis by Rattawannee, et al. (2007) of colonies throughout Thailand have demonstrated some clinal patterns of morphometric characters, such as body size decreasing from west to east of Thailand (associated with decreasing altitude) and increasing from south to north (associated with increasing altitude). Molecular studies have shown mtDNA haplotype divergence of only 2% for A. andreniformis, which coincides with homogenous populations (Smith 1991).


Subtropical and tropical areas of Southeast Asia from the eastern foothills of the Himalayas eastward to Indochina, Sundaland, and the Philippines (Gupta 2014). A. andreniformis is also found in the southern China peninsula, Malaysia, and Borneo.

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<p>Fig 1, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female face, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 1, Apis andreniformis female face, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 2, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 2, Apis andreniformis female lateral habitus, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 3, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female abdomen, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 3, Apis andreniformis female abdomen, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 4, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> drone face, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 4, Apis andreniformis drone face, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 5, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> drone lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 5, Apis andreniformis drone lateral habitus, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 6, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> drone abdomen, photo: C. Ritner</p>
Fig 6, Apis andreniformis drone abdomen, photo: C. Ritner
<p>Fig 7, <em>A. andreniformis</em> worker (female) forewing venation, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 7, A. andreniformis worker (female) forewing venation, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 8, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> drone (male) basitibial process, photo: S. Burrows</p>
Fig 8, Apis andreniformis drone (male) basitibial process, photo: S. Burrows
<p>Fig 9, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female punctate integument of T2, photo: S. Burrows</p>
Fig 9, Apis andreniformis female punctate integument of T2, photo: S. Burrows
<p>Fig 10, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female hind tibia, photo: T. Brady</p>
Fig 10, Apis andreniformis female hind tibia, photo: T. Brady
<p>Fig 11, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 11, Apis andreniformis female, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 12, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> male, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 12, Apis andreniformis male, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo
<p>Fig 13, <em>Apis andreniformis</em> female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo</p>
Fig 13, Apis andreniformis female terminalia, photo: A.H. Smith-Pardo