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The dwarf honey bee (or red dwarf honey bee), Apis florea, is one of two species of small, wild honey bees of southern and southeastern Asia. It has a much wider distribution than its sister species, Apis andreniformis. This together with A. florea is the most plesiomorphic honeybee species alive. Separating roughly about the Bartonian (some 40 mya or slightly later) from the other lineages, among themselves they do not seem to have diverged a long time before the Neogene These two species together comprise the subgenus Micrapis, and are the most primitive of the living species of Apis, reflected in their small colony size, and simple nest construction. The exposed single combs are built on branches of shrubs and small trees. The forager bees do not perform a gravity oriented waggle dance on the vertical face of the comb to recruit nestmates as in the domesticated Apis mellifera and other species. Instead they perform the dance on the horizontal upper surface where the comb wraps around the supporting branch. The dance is a straight run pointing directly to the source of pollen or nectar that the forager has been visiting. In all other Apis species, the comb on which foragers dance is vertical, and the dance is not actually directed towards the food source.
Spotted on Mar 20, 2013
Submitted on Mar 20, 2013