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"davenporti" Sugarbag bee

Scientific Name
Tetragonula davenporti
Scientific Author
(Franck, 2004)
(Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apinae: Meliponini)
Native Australian Beneficial Species
Native Australian Beneficial Species

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Diagnostic Images

Dorsal view female
Qld Elanora, May 1996, Anne Dollin det A. Dollin 2011
Ken Walker Museums Victoria
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Diagnostic Images (8)
Diagnostic Notes
Here is the abstract and description of the paper where T. davenporti was first described:


We investigated the taxonomic significance of nest shape and its putative role in speciation in Trigona (Heterotrigona) carbonaria and T. (H.) hockingsi, two sibling species of stingless bee species from eastern Australia. These species are primarily distinguished by their nest architecture, as in all other respects they are nearly identical. We genotyped 130 colonies from six locations in Queensland at 13 microsatellite loci together with 106 additional colonies from six other Indo-Pacific Trigona species. Whether they were present in allopatry or in sympatry, colonies that displayed the T. carbonaria or the T. hockingsi nest architecture could be unambiguously differentiated at the genetic level. However, T. hockingsi colonies were classifiable into two highly differentiated paraphyletic and geographically separate populations, one in northern and one in southern Queensland. These two populations probably belong to two distinct species, T. hockingsi and T. davenporti nov. sp. Our results suggest that nest architecture characters are relevant but not sufficient criteria to identify species in this group. Consequently, modifications of nest architecture are probably not of prime importance in the speciation process of Australian stingless bees, although nest architecture differences probably result from relatively simple mechanisms. The rare interspecific hybrid colonies detected did not display a nest with an intermediate form between T. hockingsi and T. carbonaria.


Coloration. Thorax and abdomen cuticle chestnut brown, yellow to orange-brown on the legs.

Pilosity. Vertex densely and uniformly covered with black ramified bristles (25 µm) and few black and tick simple hairs (30 µm in the middle, 80 µm at the lateral periphery). Frons and genae uniformly covered with brownish and faintly plumose bristles. Surpraclypeus and clypeus densely covered with whitish and strongly plumose bristles. Malar space (Fig. 4a) glabrous or subglabrous (bearing one or two fine and simple setae on the side).

Mesopleuron and metapleuron densely covered with short plumose hairs. Mesoscutum sparsely covered with yellowbrown and ramified bristles with admixed black hairs about twice as long as the ramified bristles. Mesoscutum uniformly pilose, without longitudinal glabrous band. Sixth tergite (Fig. 5a) bearing mostly simple hairs (100 µm) and sparse ramified hairs (35 µm).

Morphometry. Worker structural dimensions (range, mean

± SD) are referred in mm :

maximum head length (HL) 1.38 –1.42, 1.41 ± 0.01;

maximum head width (HW) 1.68 –1.76, 1.72 ± 0.03;

maximum hind tibia length (HTL) 1.52 –1.64, 1.57 ± 0.05;

maximum hind tibia width (HTW) 0.48 – 0.58 0.50 ± 0.04;

wing diagonal (WL2) 1.14 –1.18, 1.17 ± 0.02.

These characters will distinguish it from similar species:

(i) short bristles on vertex are white in T. hockingsi vs. black in T. davenporti;

(ii) malar space bears a continued line of hairs in T. hockingsi whereas is glabrous or subglabrous in T. davenporti;

(iii) sixth tergus covered with numerous small hairs in T. hockingsi, but bearing a few scattered small hairs in T. davenporti;

(iv) general coloration of cuticle is consistently darker in T. hockingsi than in T. davenporti."

Franck, Cameron, Good, Rasplus & Oldroyd (2004): Nest architecture and genetic differentiation in a species complex of Australian stingless bees. Molecular Ecology Volume 13, Issue 8, pages 2317–2331, August 2004

See weblinks for full paper.

More Information
Specimen Contact
Museum Victoria
Ken Walker
09/12/2011 04:53 AEST
Last Updated
09/12/2011 17:50 AEST
Ken Walker (2011) "davenporti" Sugarbag bee (Tetragonula davenporti) Updated on 12/9/2011 5:50:31 PM Available online: PaDIL -
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Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)