Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 481–494 | Cite as

Comparison of Defense Body Movements of Apis laboriosa, Apis dorsata dorsata and Apis dorsata breviligula Honey Bees

  • Jerzy WoykeEmail author
  • Jerzy Wilde
  • Maria Wilde
  • Venkataramegowda Sivaram
  • Cleofas Cervancia
  • Narajanappa Nagaraja
  • Muniswamyreddy Reddy


Defense behavior of three, free living giant (Megapis) honey bee subspecies, Apis laboriosa, A. dorsata dorsata and A. dorsata breviligula, was compared. Disturbed worker bees responded with characteristic dorso-ventral defense body twisting (DBT). Workers of A. laboriosa twisted the thorax by 55°, and the two other A. dorsata subspecies by about 10° more. A. laboriosa workers raised the tip of the abdomen by 90° and workers of the two other bee subspecies by about 20° higher. Differences in those traits were highly significant between A. laboriosa and both A. dorsata subspecies, but were not significant between those two subspecies. The whole cycle of DBT was the most vigorous in A. d. breviligula (0.11 s), and it was twice as vigorous as in A. d. dorsata (0.26 s) and trice as in A. laboriosa (0.32 s). A. laboriosa twisted the body together with wings folded over the abdomen, while the two A. dorsata subspecies raised the abdomen between spread wings. This supports the opinion to treat A. laboriosa as a separate species.


Apis laboriosa Apis dorsata defense behavior Nepal India the Philippines 



We would like to thank very much Mr K. Neupane from Tribhuvan University in Rampur, Nepal and dr A. Fajardo from the University in Los Baños, Philippines, for their help during the investigation.

Supplementary material


Hornet hunting Apis laboriosa worker bees near the nest (AVI 2.30 MB)


Dorso-ventral Defense Body Twisting (DBT) of A. laboriosa worker bees (AVI 2.30 MB)


Circular Defense Waves (Dw) of A. laboriosa workers in the curtain covering the nests (AVI 2.24 MB)


Defense Waves og (DW) of A. d. breviligula provoked by dummy hornet (AVI 2.65 MB)


Defense body twisting (DBT) of A. d. breviligula (AVI 2.41 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerzy Woyke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerzy Wilde
    • 2
  • Maria Wilde
    • 3
  • Venkataramegowda Sivaram
    • 4
  • Cleofas Cervancia
    • 5
  • Narajanappa Nagaraja
    • 6
  • Muniswamyreddy Reddy
    • 6
  1. 1.Apiculture DivisionAgricultural UniversityWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Apiculture DivisionWM UniversityOlsztynPoland
  3. 3.Dabur Apicultural CentreJugediNepal
  4. 4.Division of Biodiversity and Apiculture, Department of BotanyBangalore UniversityBangaloreIndia
  5. 5.Institute of Biological ScienceUniversity of the PhilippinesLos BañosPhilippines
  6. 6.Zoology DepartmentBangalore UniversityBangaloreIndia

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