Pot-Honey pp 3-17 | Cite as

The Meliponini

  • Charles D. MichenerEmail author


This chapter provides a general introduction to the tribe Meliponini or stingless bees. Their position within the Apoidea and within the Aculeata is briefly summarized in the section “Introduction.” The section on classification lists all genera and subgenera but does not list characters or provide for identification of taxa within the Meliponini. A section on biology is largely introductory to the sections on reproduction, foraging (including communication by successful foragers), foods (including foods unusual for bees, such as carrion, booty stolen from other nests by robbers, perspiration, tears from eyes, etc.), nests (including sites, construction materials, structure), defense, and history and phylogeny (including fossils, antiquity).


Late Cretaceous Brood Cell Nest Entrance Nest Cavity Nest Construction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aguilar-Monge I. 2004. Communication and recruitment for the collection of food in stingless bees: a behavioral approach. 150 pp, thesis, University of Utrecht [Netherlands].Google Scholar
  2. Ayala R. 1999. Revision de las abejas sin aguijon de México. Folia Entomologica Mexicana 106:1–123.Google Scholar
  3. Bänziger H, Boongird S, Sukumalanand P, Bänziger S. 2009. Bees that drink human tears. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 82:135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bänziger H, Pumikong S, Kanokorn S. 2011. The remarkable nest entrance of tear drinking Pariotrigona klossi aand other stingless bees nesting in limestone cavities. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 84:22–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camargo JMF. 2008. Biogeografía historica dos Meliponini (Hymenoptera. Apidae. Apinae) da região neotropical. pp. 13–26. In Vit P, ed. Cría de Abejas sin Aguijón y Valorización sensorial de sus Mieles. APIBA-FFB-DIGECEX-ULA; Mérida, Venezuela. 146 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Camargo JMF, Grimaldi DA, Pedro SRM. 2000. The extinct fauna of stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) in Dominican amber: Two new species and redescription of the male of Proplebeia dominicana (Wille and Chandler). American Museum Novitates 3293:1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camargo JMF, Pedro SRM. 2002. Mutualistic association between a tiny Amazonian stingless bee and a wax-producing scale insect. Biotropica 34:1–6.Google Scholar
  8. Camargo JMF, Pedro SRM. 2007. Meliponini Lepeletier, 1836. pp. 272–578. In Moure JS, Urban D, Melo GAR, eds. Catalogue of Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) in the Neotropical Region. Sociedade Brasileira de Entomologia; Curitiba, Brasil. xiv+1058 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Camargo JMF, Pedro SRM. 2009. Neotropical Meliponini: The genus Celetrigona Moure. Zootaxa 2135:37–54.Google Scholar
  10. de Dalla Torre CG. 1896. Catalogus Hymenopterorum, vol. X. Englemann; Lipsiae [Leipzig, Germany]. vii+643 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Dollin AE, Dollin LJ, Sakagami SF. 1997. Australian stingless bees of the genus Trigona. Invertebrate Taxonomy 12:861–896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eardley CD. 2004. Taxonomic review of the African stingless bees. African Plant Protection 10:63–96.Google Scholar
  13. Engel MS. 2000. A new interpretation of the oldest fossil bee. American Museum Novitates 3296:1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Engel MS. 2001a. A monograph of the Baltic amber bees and evolution of the Apoidea. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 259:1–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Engel MS. 2001b. Monophyly and extensive extinction of advanced eusocial bees: Insights from an unexpected Eocene diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science [USA] 98:1661–1664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Engel MS. 2004. Geological history of the bees. Revista Tecnologia e Ambiente [Criciúma, Brazil] 10:9–33.Google Scholar
  17. Engel MS. 2011. Systematic melittology: where from here? Systematic Entomology 36:2–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau A. 1836. Histoire naturelle des insectes, Hyménoptéres, vol. 1. Encycl. Rorat; Paris, France. 547 pp.Google Scholar
  19. Michener CD. 1944. Comparative external morphology, phylogeny, and a classification of the bees. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 82:151–326.Google Scholar
  20. Michener CD. 1961. Observations on the nests and behavior of Trigona in Australia and New Guinea. American Museum Novitates 2026:1–46.Google Scholar
  21. Michener CD. 1990. Classification of the Apidae. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 54:75–164.Google Scholar
  22. Michener CD. 2000. The bees of the world. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press; Baltimore, United States. xiv + 913 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Michener, CD. 2007. The bees of the world. Second edition. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press; Baltimore, United States. xvi + 953 pp.Google Scholar
  24. Michener CD, Grimaldi DA. 1988. A Trigona from Late Cretaceous amber of New Jersey. American Museum Novitates 2917:1–10.Google Scholar
  25. Moure JS. 1946. Contribuição para o conhecimento dos Meliponinae. (Hym. Apoidea). Revista de Entomologia 17:437–443.Google Scholar
  26. Moure JS. 1961. A preliminary supraspecific classification of the Old World meliponine bees. Studia Entomologica [Brazil] 4:181–242.Google Scholar
  27. Nogueira-Neto P. 1953. A criação de abelhas indígenas sem ferrão. Chácaras e Quintais; São Paulo:iii + 280 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Nogueira-Neto P. 1970. A criação de abelhas indígenas sem ferrão. Second edition. Chácaras e Quintais; São Paulo:365 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Nogueira-Neto P. 1997. Vida e criação de abelhas indígenas sem ferrão. Nogueirapis; São Paulo:446 pp.Google Scholar
  30. Pauly A, Brooks RW, Nilsson LA, Pesenko YA, Eardley CD, Terzo M, Griswold T, Schwarz M, Patiny S, Muzinger J, Barbier Y. 2001. Hymenoptera Apoidea de Madagascar et des iles voisines. Annales Sciences Zoologiques (Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren) 286:1–390, pls. 1–16.Google Scholar
  31. Portugal-Araújo V. 1958. A contribution to the bionomics of Lestrimelitta cubiceps. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 31:203–211.Google Scholar
  32. Rasmussen C. 2008. Catalog of the Indo-Malayan / Australasian stingless bees. Zootaxa 1935:1–80.Google Scholar
  33. Rasmussen C, Cameron SA. 2007. A molecular phylogeny of the old world stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) and the non-monophyly of the large genus Trigona. Systematic Entomology 32:26–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rasmussen C, Cameron SA. 2010. Global stingless bee phylogeny supports ancient divergence, vicariance, and long distance dispersal. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99:206–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roubik DW. 1982. Obligate necrophagy in a social bee. Science 217:1059–1060.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roubik DW. 1989. Ecology and natural history of tropical bees. Cambridge Univ. Press; New York. x + 514 pp.Google Scholar
  37. Roubik DW. 2006. Stingless bee nesting biology. Apidologie 37:124–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roubik DW, Moreno Patiño JE. 2009. Trigona corvina: An ecological study based on an unusual nest structure and pollen analysis. Psyche 2009 (258756):1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sakagami SF. 1975. Stingless bees (excl. Tetragonula) from the continental southeast Asia in the collection of Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Journal of the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Series VI, Zoology 20:49–76.Google Scholar
  40. Sakagami SF. 1978. Tetragonula stingless bees of the continental southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Journal of the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Series VI, Zoology 21:165–247.Google Scholar
  41. Sakagami SF, Inoue T, Yamane S, Salmah S. 1989. Nests of the myrmecophilous stingless bee, Trigona moorei: How do the bees initiate their nest in an arboreal ant nest? Biotropica 21:265–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sakagami SF, Roubik DW, Zucchi R. 1993. Ethology of the robber stingless bee, Lestrimelitta limao. Sociobiology 21:237–277.Google Scholar
  43. Schwarz HF. 1937. Results of the Oxford University Sarawak (Borneo) expedition: Bornean stingless bees of the genus Trigona. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 73:281–328, pls.II-VII.Google Scholar
  44. Schwarz HF. 1938. The stingless bees (Meliponidae) of British Guiana and some related sforms, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 74:437–508, pls. LII-LXII.Google Scholar
  45. Schwarz HF. 1939. The Indo-malayan species of Trigona. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 76:83–141.Google Scholar
  46. Schwarz HF. 1948. Stingless bees (Meliponidae) of the western hemisphere. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 90:xviii+546.Google Scholar
  47. Smith F. 1854. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects in the collection of the part 2 British Museum, London, pp. 199–465, pls. vii-xii.Google Scholar
  48. Wille A. 1979. Phylogeny and relationships among the genera and subgenera of the stingless bees (Meliponinae) of the world. Revista de Biologia Tropical 27:241–277.Google Scholar
  49. Wille A. 1983. Biology of the stingless bees. Annual Review of Entomology 28:41–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wille A, Michener CD. 1973. The nest architecture of stingless bees with special reference to those of Costa Rica. Revista de Biologia Tropical 21 (supplemento 1):1–279.Google Scholar
  51. Wille A, Orozco E. 1975. Observations on the founding of a new colony by Trigona cupira (Hymenoptera:Apidae) in Costa Rica. Revista de Biologia Tropical 22:253–287.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Entomology, Natural History MuseumUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations