The morphology of the sting of the four honey bee species Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis florea and Apis mellifera was examined. Considerable similarities were found, but A. dorsata had the longest sting, followed by A. mellifera, A. cerana and A. florea. Certain differences were observed in the sclerotization of individual structures in the motor apparatus. In particular, the apodeme of the quadrate plate was sharper, rounded, protruded slightly and protruded most in A. dorsata compared to A. mellifera, A. cerana and A. florea respectively. In the piercing apparatus, the furcula of the stylet was almost identical in A. mellifera and A. cerana, but in A. dorsata, the point of bifurcation of the furcula was broader compared to A. cerana and A. mellifera, whilst in A. florea the structure resembled the character pi (π). There were 11 acute barbs in A. dorsata compared to 10 in the other three species. The distance between the successive barbs gradually increased posterio-anteriorally. The venom gland was distally bifurcated and then united into a filament, opening into the venom sac in all four species. The Dufour gland was coloured white in A. dorsata, A. mellifera, and A. florea but was either yellow or white in A. cerana.
Sting morphology, motor apparatus, piercing apparatus, Apis dorsata, Apis mellifera, Apis cerana, Apis florea.