Recently, a new species of endemic honeybee named Apis karinjodian has been discovered in the Western Ghats after a gap of more than 200 years.
- The last honeybee described from India was Apis indica in 1798 by Fabricius.
Facts for Prelims
- Common Name: Indian black honeybee.
- Apis karinjodian has evolved from Apis cerana morphotypes that got acclimatised to the hot and humid environment of the Western Ghats.
- Indian black honeybees are able to produce a thicker honey which allows for increased honey production.
- 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.
- The research has given a new direction to apiculture in the country by showing the presence of three species of cavity nesting honey bees, namely Apis indica, Apis cerana, and Apis karinjodian.
- 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.
- IUCN Red List: Near Threatened (NT)