Apis mellifera Linnaeus

Weissmann, Julie A., Picanco, Ana, Borges, Paulo A. V. & Schaefer, Hanno, 2017, Bees of the Azores: an annotated checklist (Apidae, Hymenoptera), ZooKeys 642, pp. 63-95 : 83-84

publication ID

https://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.642.10773

publication LSID

lsid:zoobank.org:pub:E8512D08-5E22-4794-AE23-31FA1F1BD606

persistent identifier

https://treatment.plazi.org/id/28D08F8A-D5A6-9C29-2DED-0E94C18E3423

treatment provided by

ZooKeys by Pensoft

scientific name

Apis mellifera Linnaeus
status

 

Apis mellifera Linnaeus

Description and distinguishing features.

Honeybees are larger than most wild bees in the islands (total length 11-13 mm in workers, 13-16 mm in males; wing length 9-10 mm in workers and 12-13,5 mm in males) but can be confused with some syrphid flies (e.g., Eristalis tenax ). They differ from superficially similar Megachile by their pollen-collecting mode: scopae on the legs (Fig. 10), not abdominal brushes.

General distribution.

Probably native to the Mediterranean region but kept by beekeepers in temperate regions worldwide for honey production.

Distribution in the Azores.

Apiculture is declining in the Azores (maybe as a result of accidental introduction of Varroa destructor mites) but honeybee colonies are still kept on all islands; in 2010, the number of bee colonies in the Azores was c. 3850, belonging to 255 beekeepers (source: Paulo Miranda at http://montedomel.blogspot.de).

First record.

16th century ( Frutuoso 2005); according to Marques (cited in Crane 1999: 219) "[b]eekeeping was started in 1554 ( …), the bees probably being taken there from Portugal."

Nesting.

Today, honeybees are not known to occur as escaped/feral bees in the archipelago but Drouët (1861) reported wild honeybees from São Miguel.

Social behaviour.

Highly eusocial.

Foraging.

Polylectic.

Phenology.

All year.

Material.

São Miguel (Furnas) and Terceira (Monte Brasil), August-September 1930, leg. L. Chopard, det. Benoist ( Benoist et al. 1936, not seen).

Note.

De la Rúa et al. (2006) analysed genetic diversity of Azorean honeybees and found a comparably low number of mitochondrial haplotypes, some of them shared with Madeiran honeybees, other probably recent introductions from the mainland.

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Arthropoda

Class

Insecta

Order

Hymenoptera

Family

Apidae

Genus

Apis