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By: Benjamin P Oldroyd and Siriwat Wongsiri
340 pages, B/w illus, tabs
The familiar European hive bee, Apis mellifera, has long dominated honey bee research. But in the last 15 years, teams in China, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand began to shift focus to the indigenous Asian honey bees. Benjamin Oldroyd, well known for his work on the genetics and evolution of worker sterility, has teamed with Siriwat Wongsiri, a pioneer of the study of bees in Thailand, to provide a comparative work synthesizing the rapidly expanding Asian honey bee literature. After introducing the species, the authors review evolution and speciation, division of labor, communication, and nest defense. They underscore the pressures colonies face from pathogens, parasites, and predators--including man--and detail the long and amazing history of the honey hunt. This book provides a cornerstone for future investigations on these species, insights into the evolution across species, and a direction for conservation efforts to protect these keystone species of Asia's tropical forests.
Asian Honey Bees succeeds admirably. It is both an authoritative monograph that will satisfy experts and a highly readable book that will engage students and biologists in general. It presents Asian honeybees in the broader context of social behaviour and evolution while giving a real feeling for the bees themselves, including their interactions with humans. -- Francis L. W. Ratnieks Nature 20060720
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