Two new species of Tetragonula (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) from North-East India with notes on their nest structure

Abstract

We describe Tetragonula kyrdemkulaiensis Viraktamath and Rojeet sp. n. with associated females and males from Kyrdemkulai, Meghalaya. This appears to be one of the largest species of the genus with male holotype measuring 5.20 mm in body length and 1.85 mm in head width, while female paratypes measuring 4.93 and 1.82 mm in body length and head width, respectively. Male gonostylus arises laterally and is gently clavate apically. Penis valve is robust with a characteristic shape. One nest was found in the soil at 90 cm depth with cells arranged in a cluster. We also describe Tetragonula srikantanathi Viraktamath sp. n. based on females from Salema, Tripura. Female holotype measures 3.50 mm in body length and 1.60 mm in head width, while the paratypes measure3.58 and 1.59 mm in body length and head width, respectively, with the whole orange metasoma. One nest of this species was found in mud wall cavity with unique single-cell thick layer of brood combs which has not been reported in any other Indian species of Tetragonula. Both species were compared with the images and descriptions of primary type specimens of Tetragonula species occurring in the Indo-Malayan region and were found to be distinct in morphological characters, male genitalia and nest structure.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr. C. A. Viraktamath, Emeritus Professor, UASB, for his valuable comments to improve the manuscript. We are thankful to Dr. Yeshwant and Ms. Shishira D. for assisting in preparation of figures. We also gratefully acknowledge four unknown referees for their valuable comments. This study was supported by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.

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Correspondence to Shashidhar Viraktamath.

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Viraktamath, S., Thangjam, R. Two new species of Tetragonula (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) from North-East India with notes on their nest structure. Biologia (2021). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-020-00662-0

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Keywords

  • Tetragonula kyrdemkulaiensis
  • Tetragonula srikantanathi
  • Stingless bees
  • North-East India