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New species of honey bee found in Arunachal Pradesh

08:50 PM Feb 07, 2023 IST | Ground report
new species of honey bee found in arunachal pradesh

A new species of the honey bee has been discovered in the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh. The newly discovered bee species, named Ceratina tawangensis, is named after the Tawang region, as it was found here.

The discovery has been made by researchers from the South Regional Center for Zoological Studies of India.


The new species can be found in the Tawang district at an altitude of 1,600 to 2,300 meters. It is shiny black in colour and measures approximately 10mm, making it relatively large compared to other Ceratina bees.

New species of honey bee

The researchers added a species of bee called Ceratina tawangensis to the list of unique species found in the region. The research team included Dibyajyoti Ghosh, Thayyullathil Jobiraj, P. Girish Kumar, and KA Subramanian.


Ceratina tawangensis sp. nov., Holotype ♀. A. Head in frontal view; B. Mesosoma in lateral view; C. Mesosoma in dorsal view; D. Metasoma in dorsal view; E. Body in lateral view; F. Body in dorsal view; G. Fore and middle legs showing vestiture and yellow marking at the ventral distal top; H. Forewing. Photo: Jobiraj Thayyullathil

The newly introduced species can be distinguished from its relatives by differences in its yellow colour pattern, as well as its smaller markings and microscopic features.

Uncovered 50 species of bees

‘So far, our surveys in the Tawang district have uncovered some 50 species or forms of bees,’ said Dibyajyoti Ghosh of the South India Regional Center for Zoological Survey. He said some very interesting and rare bees have been found that have yet to be described.


According to Ghosh, Tawang is a unique and diverse region in terms of climate and habitat, which initially piqued the interest of researchers. The eastern Himalayas, considered hotspots or local centres, hold the potential for the evolution of new species, attracting researchers from around the world.

The discovery of Seratina tawangensis has deepened our understanding of the local community.


A. Head in frontal view; B. Body in lateral view; C. Mesosoma in dorsal view; D. Mesosoma in lateral view; E. Right wings; F. Body in dorsal view; G-H. Darker variant of C. bryanti. G. Body in dorsal view; H. Body in lateral view. Photo: Jobiraj Thayyullathil

The researcher explained that during the study only female specimens of the species were captured and this was the first time that the character of the species was observed during the taxonomic identification process.

The specimens were compared with other groups of similar species found in India and Ceratina tawangensis was identified as new.

22,000 known bee species

With approximately 22,000 known bee species, wild bees account for a large part of bee diversity, and many important crops depend on their pollination services.

Many major cash crops such as Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, coffee beans, cocoa beans, avocados, and fruits and vegetables such as apples, apricots, blueberries, mangoes, strawberries and tomatoes, rely mostly or entirely on pollinating bees for pollination services.

However, the populations of these important pollinators are declining at an alarming rate due to habitat loss and degradation, resulting in the loss of food and hives.

750 species of bees in India

India is home to approximately 750 species of bees and with its diverse climate and geography, there are likely many more species yet to be discovered.

Despite this rich biodiversity, information on wild bees in India is limited, and documentation on bee diversity in the northeastern region is particularly sparse.


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