Apis cerana nuluensis

Apis cerana nuluensis is a subspecies of honey bee described in 1996 by Tingek, Koeniger & Koeniger. The geographic distribution of the subspecies is the south-east Asian island of Borneo, politically divided between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

A. c. nuluensis is one of a number of Asiatic honey bees, including the more obscure Apis koschevnikovi and Apis nigrocincta (the latter of which has nearby habitat on nearby Sulawesi and Mindanao islands)

While this was originally described as a species, it has since been classified as a geographic race (subspecies) of the widespread A. cerana (Engel, 1999). Molecular evidence suggests it is divergent enough in its DNA sequences to potentially represent a biological species (Arias & Sheppard, 2005), but there has been no formal reassignment to date, and no hybridization studies have been performed to confirm this hypothesis.

The island of Borneo, habitat of A. nuluensis

Like many honey bees, A. c. nuluensis is liable to infestation by the parasitic Varroa mite, although in this case the particular species is Varroa underwoodi. (In this aspect, A. c. nuluensis is similar to A. nigrocincta)


  • Tingek S., Koeniger N., Koeniger G. (1996) Description of a newcavity-dwelling species of Apis (Apis nuluensis) from Sabah, Borneo with notes on its occurrence and reproductive biology (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Apini), Senckenbergiana Biol. 76, 115–119.
  • Fuchs S., Koeniger N., Tingek S. (1996) The morphometric position of A. nuluensis (Tingek, Koeniger and Koeniger) within cavity-nesting honey bees, Apidologie 27, 397–406.
  • Arias M.S., Tingek S., Kelitu A., Sheppard W.S.(1996) Apis nuluensis Tingek, Koeniger and Koeniger, 1996 and its genetic relationship with sympatric species inferred from DNA sequences, Apidologie 27, 415–422.
  • Engel, M.S. (1999) The taxonomy of recent and fossil honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apis). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 8: 165-196.
  • Arias, Maria C. & Sheppard, Walter S. (2005): Phylogenetic relationships of honey bees (Hymenoptera:Apinae:Apini) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37(1): 25–35. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.02.017. Erratum in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40(1): 315. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.002
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