Genetics 3A
distribution map apis florea
distribution map apis dorsata
distribution map apis cerana
distribution map apis mellifera
Apis florea is the smallest of the four honey bee species. It is the honey bee of the lowlands of South Asia; found much further to the West that dorsata or cerana but not as far to the North or East. It builds its nest on a single comb in the open on low bushes.
The main habitat is Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and parts of Indonesia.
Apis florea cohabits with A. dorsata and A. cerana in these countries.
Only in northern Oman is florea found with A. mellifera.
Apis dorsata is the largest of the four honey bee species. It is found in Pakistan, India, the Malaysian peninsular, and as far East as the Philippines.
Like A. florea, A. dorsata builds its nests in the open on a single comb but in tall trees or cliffs, and is able to survive at higher altitudes than A. florea.
apis dorsata
apis florea
apis cerana
┬ęCharles Lam
Wikimedia Commons
┬ęDr Farook Ahmad
Wikimedia Commons
Apis cerana has a very wide area of distribution in Asia from the eastern side of Iran to Japan in the East. The area includes the Malayan region, Indonesia, and the islands to the South West. A. cerana builds its nests in cavities. The nest is muticombed.
apis mellifera
Apis mellifera is widely distributed in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Like A. cerana A. mellifera builds its multicombed nests in cavities.

The distribution of the various subspecies of A. mellifera found by genetic evidence is investigated in the pages which follow.
Distribution Maps of the Four honey bee Species
Next Page: Genetics 3B
Species of Honey bee - genus Apis
Whereas worldwide there are over 250 species of bumblebee (genus Bombus.), there are only 10 species of honey bee (genus Apis).
(click for a pop-up) Of the 10 species 9 of these are found only in Asia; the exception being mellifera. The 3 main species found in Asia are Apis florea, dorsata, and cerana; Apis mellifera was originally only found in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It would seem to be a logical conclusion that the common ancestor of these 10 honey bee species was found in Asia.
The geographical distribution of each of the 4 main species is shown in the following maps (after Ruttner]).
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