Indian Black Honeybee


    In News 

    • A new species of endemic honeybee has been discovered in the Western Ghats. 

    About species 

    • The new species has been named Apis karinjodian and given the common name Indian black honeybee.
    • It has  been spotted from the Western Ghats after a gap of more than 200 years.
      • The last honeybee described from India was Apis indica in 1798 by Fabricius.
        • Although Fabricius named the Indian bee Apis indica, it was not considered a valid species till now. 
        • The research team restored the status of Apis indica based on a new measure for species discrimination in honeybees termed ‘Radio-Medial Index (RMI).’
    • Apis karinjodian has evolved from Apis cerana morphotypes that got acclimatised to the hot and humid environment of the Western Ghats.
    • Distribution : The distribution of Apis karinjodian ranges from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu.
      • Till date, only a single species, Apis cerana was noted across the plains of central and southern India and Sri Lanka as a ‘fairly uniform population’ in the Indian subcontinent.
    • Protection Status : The species has been classified as near threatened (NT) in the State based on the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
    • Relevance : The research has given a new direction to apiculture in the country by proving that it has three species of cavity nesting honey bees viz Apis indica, Apis cerana, and Apis karinjodian, the last being visibly dark in appearance.
      • The ability of the Indian black honey bee to produce higher quantities of honey, which is thicker in consistency, opens up new avenues for increasing honey production.
      • The new find has increased the species of honeybees in the world to 11.