Apis (Synapis) dalica Engel & Wappler

Engel, Michael S., Wang, Bo, Alqarni, Abdulaziz S., Jia, Lin-Bo, Su, Tao, Zhou, Zhe-kun & Wappler, Torsten, 2018, A primitive honey bee from the Middle Miocene deposits of southeastern Yunnan, China (Hymenoptera, Apidae), ZooKeys 775, pp. 117-129: 117

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Apis (Synapis) dalica Engel & Wappler

sp. n.

Apis (Synapis) dalica Engel & Wappler  sp. n. Figs 4-7, 8-9


Worker (Figure 4), NIGP154200; Middle Miocene, approximately 16.5-15.2 Ma (around the Tortonian-Serravallian boundary); northeastern suburb of Maguan, Maguan County, Wenshan Zhuang & Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. The holotype is deposited in the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China.


The new species is most similar to those Miocene honey bees described from Shandong Province, China. Apis dalica  differs from them in the gently arched basal vein (comparatively straight in the specimens from Shandong), which is also closer to 1cu-a (separated by about a vein width versus several vein widths and even up to 0.5-0.75 times crossvein length in material from Shandong: refer to figures presented by Zhang 1989, and Zhang et al. 1994). In addition, in A. longitibia  Zhang and A. miocenica  Hong 2rs-m is comparatively straight ( Zhang 1989; Zhang et al. 1994), rather than the distinctly arcuate form of A. dalica  . In A. shandongica  Zhang and A. miocenica  1m-cu is not so prominently arched and only so at its anterior end rather than strongly so and at midlength in A. dalica  . Lastly, in all of the material from Shandong ( Zhang 1989; Zhang et al. 1994), 1Rs originates in a strongly proximal position relative to the base of the pterostigma, rather than near the base of the pterostigma in A. dalica  . The pterostigma of A. dalica  is more distinctly developed than in modern species and most other fossil species of Apis  .


Worker. Total length (as preserved) 17.06 mm; preserved in ventral orientation, with head thrust forward, wings extended obliquely away from body, and legs largely tucked underneath the body with most podites not preserved or indiscernible; coloration not preserved (appearing uniformly charcoal black). Head apparently slightly longer than wide as interpreted in ventral position; malar space elongate, longer than basal mandibular width; head narrower than mesosoma. Leg podites incompletely preserved. Metasoma typical for worker honey bee, length (as preserved) 9.03 mm, maximum width 4.36 mm; apical margins of sterna somewhat concave, those more basal sterna relatively straight, apical most sterna more strongly concave; sting not extended but slightly evident extending along midline of apical sterna (Figure 7).

Forewing with venation typical of Apis  and subgenus Synapis  (Figs 4, 5, 8, 9), length 8.54 mm, maximum width 2.18 mm; basal vein (1M) slightly distad 1cu-a, separated from 1cu-a by distance scarcely greater than vein width, gently arched before meeting 1Rs; 1Rs about as long as 1Rs+M and not in line with 1M; first submarginal cell smallest, with 2Rs sinuate (rather than relatively straight); r-rs about as long as anterior margin of second submarginal cell; second submarginal cell trapezoidal, with 1rs-m relatively straight and strongly slanted apically such that posterior border of cell is slightly more than three times length of anterior border; 1m-cu meeting posterior border of second submarginal cell at basal third of cell length, with distinct abscissal stub present at about angle of midlength, stub projecting into proximal border of second medial cell; third submarginal cell relatively broad anteriorly, with 2rs-m arcuate, anterior border of third submarginal cell distinctly longer than anterior border of second submarginal cell; aRs2 absent (sensu Tan et al. 2008); 2m-cu meeting posterior border of third submarginal cell near apical quarter of cell length, crossvein relatively straight. Hind wing with typical Apis  venation, length 6.37 mm, maximum width 1.39 mm; linear series of distal hamuli present along anterior wing margin (precise number not discernible); distal abscissa M ( ‘indica’ vein) present, about as long as rs-m (Figure 5).


The specific epithet refers to the Medieval Dali Kingdom which occupied the area of Yunnan from its founding in 937 AD at the close of the Nanzhao Kingdom and until its termination by Kublai Khan (1215-1294) and the Mongol invasion in 1253 AD.