In news: A new species of endemic honeybee has been discovered after a gap of more than 200 years. The new species has been named Apis karinjodian and given the common name Indian black honeybee.
- The new find has increased the species of honeybees in the world to 11.
- 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 Indian black honeybee, 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.
- The last honeybee described from India was Apis indica in 1798 by Fabricius. 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.
- 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.
- IUCN status: near threatened
- 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 honeybee to produce higher quantities of honey, which is thicker in consistency, opens up new avenues for increasing honey production.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered?
- Andaman Islands
- Anaimalai Forests
- Maikala Hills
- Tropical rain forests of northeast