Melipona

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Melipona
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Meliponini
Genus: Melipona
Illiger, 1806
Species

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.

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),[citation needed] 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.

The medical plant hog plum (Spondias mombin) is also occasionally pollinated by Melipona. Important predators of Melipona include woodpeckers, such as the white woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus).

Selected taxa[verification needed][edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]