Some 40, see text
Melipona is a genus of stingless bees, widespread in warm areas of the Neotropics, from Sinaloa and Tamaulipas (México) to Tucumán and Misiones (Argentina). At least 40 species are known. The largest producer of honey from Melipona bees in Mexico is in the state of Yucatán where bees are studied at an interactive park called "Bee Planet" which is within the Cuxtal Ecological Reserve.
Several species are kept for honey production, e.g. in Brazil, where some are well-known enough to have common names. Melipona honey has long been used by humans and now is of minor commercial importance. Research is going on in improved beekeeping techniques.
In addition, Mexican Melipona species are known to be good pollinators of the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia), increasing the harvest of this valuable crop. Due to their small size and lack of stings, they can also be used as pollinators in greenhouse culture of pepperfruits (Capsicum spp.). Irapuá (M. ruficrus), though, has a reputation of being somewhat of a pest in citrus plantations.
Selected taxa[verification needed]
- Melipona beecheii Bennet
- Melipona bicolor (Lepeletier, 1836) – guarupu, guaraipo
- Melipona compressipes – tiúba
- Melipona compressipes manaosensis – jupará
- Melipona fasciata Latreille, 2008
- Melipona fuscipes Friese, 1900 (Latreille, 1811)
- Melipona fuliginosa (Latreille, 1811) – manduri-preto
- Melipona interrupta – jandaíra
- Melipona marginata Lepeletier, 1836 – manduri, manduri menor, mandurim, minduri, gurupu-do-miúdo, taipeira
- Melipona mimetica
- Melipona quadrifasciata (Lepeletier) – mandaçaia, amanaçaia, manaçaia, "uruçu"
- M. q. anthidioides
- Melipona quinquefasciata (Lepeletier) – mandaçaia-da-terra, mandaçaia-do-chão, uruçu-do-chão
- Melipona ruficrus – irapuá
- Melipona rufiventris (Lepeletier) – uruçu-amarela, tuiuva, tujuba, bugia
- M. r. paraensis – uruçu-boca-de-ralo
- Melipona scutellaris Latreille, 1811 – uruçu-nordestina, "uruçu"
- Melipona seminigra
- M. s. merrillae – boca-de-renda
- Melipona subnitida Ducke – jandaíra
- Warwick Estevam Kerr - famous Brazilian scientist who did many studies of Melipona
- Trigona - another genus of stingless bees
- Martinez, Veronica (6 November 2013). "Abrió sus puertas el parque interactivo “Abeja Planet”" (in Spanish). Mérida, Mexico: Por Esto!. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
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