Sakagami et al. (1980) published a morphometric analysis of a "super dorsata" bee from altitudes between 1500 and 4000 m in Nepal, using more than 70 selected characters. This bee was first named "Megapis laboriosa" by Cockerell in 1906. The proposition to recognize this taxon as a fifth Apis species is based on the following arguments: (1) Important quantitative differences supposed to be exceeding those found within one of the known Apis species (Fig.1.2, Table 1.1). (2) Presumably sympatric occurrence. (3) Ecological divergence (Roubik et al. 1985). These arguments have to be seen together with the well-documented and analyzed situation in A. mellifera: the subunits of this species differ from each other in size, hair, and wing venation as much as laboriosa does from dorsata s. str. (Table 1.1, Chap. 4, p.37). The consequence of colonizing a new ecological niche is a considerable morphological diversification, also at the subspecies level. Increasing knowledge about geographic variation in A. mellifera reveals quite a few examples of intraspecies ecological and morphological diversification and isolation (e. g., A. m.litorea - A. m. monticola; "Africanized" bees). Differences regarded as species-specific in the dorsata group are found on the same order of magnitude at the subspecies level in A. mellifera (Fig. 4.2). No single major qualitative characteristic has been presented for laboriosa. Moreover, Delfinado-Baker et al. (1985) showed that laboriosa and dorsata share the same parasites; this is not observed in other Apis species. On the other hand, two new Braula species of the genus Megabraula were recently detected in laboriosa nest which I mayor may not occur in dorsata nests (Grimaldi and Underwood 1986). Although very little is known about the biology, laboriosa certainly exists under extreme ecological conditions, with the consequence of typical morphological changes (p. 118). The taxonomic rank is determined not by the morphometric distance but by the genetic isolation and historical age of the type. The problem "A.laboriosa" will be instantly solved as soon as the male copulatory organ is described in detail (according to a personal communication by B. Underwood current investigations show that the endophallus of laboriosa is identical with this bizarre structure in dorsata) and the allopatric distribution established. The extremely complicated structure of the dorsata endophallus is expected to be soon modified in genetic isolation. More important than this question of classification are the problems of physiology and ecology of this most exceptional yet little known honeybee. All data available indicate a further step in evolution to the limits of adaptability of an open-air nesting species: existence in a zone with temperate climate, surviving temperatures below freezing point at least for a limited time (Roubik et al.1985). The direction of evolution points to a Bombus type rather than to a multi-comb Apis: large body size, long hair, dark color. In conclusion, sufficient data are available now to recognize four species within the genus Apis. A possible fifth species, closely related to A. dorsata and living in an extreme biotope, is not yet fully confirmed.
"Professor Dr. Friedrich Ruttner Biogeography and Taxonomy of Honeybees (1988)"
ПС.Жирним шрифтом виділив те що важить для нас в цій дискусії 4 види в роді Апіс.