• A new species of endemic honeybee has been discovered in the Western Ghats. The new species has been named Apiskarinjodian and given the common name Indian black honeybee.
  • The finding has been published in the September issue of Entomon, a peer-reviewed journal brought out by the Association for Advancement of Entomology.
  • The research team behind the discovery comprised Shanas S. from Kerala Agricultural University’s Integrated Farming Systems Research Station, Karamana, here;
  • Anju Krishnan G., a Ph.D. research scholar from the Zoology Department of S.N. College, Cherthala (affiliated to the University of Kerala);
  • and Mashhoor K. from the EMEA College of Arts and Science, Malappuram. It is after a gap of more than 200 years that a new species of honeybee has been spotted in the Western Ghats.
  • The last honeybee described from India was Apisindica in 1798 by Fabricius. Although Fabricius named the Indian bee Apisindica, it was not considered a valid species till now.
  • The research team restored the status of Apisindica based on a new measure for species discrimination in honeybees termed ‘Radio-Medial Index (RMI).’
  • They obtained high-resolution photographs of the type specimen from the Natural History Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark, to prove the distinct identity of Apisindica, which led to the discovery of Apiskarinjodian.
  • Apiskarinjodian has evolved from Apiscerana morphotypes that got acclimatised to the hot and humid environment of the Western Ghats.
  • Molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA was also carried out and molecular sequence data available in the public open database NCBI-GenBank also helped confirm the species status of the new honeybee.
  • The research work took more than three years.
  • The distribution of Apiskarinjodian ranges from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


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