The bees of Early Eocene Cambay amber (Hymenoptera: Apidae)


  • Michael S. Engel University of Kansas
  • Jaime Ortega-Blanco University of Kansas
  • Paul C. Nascimbene American Museum of Natural History
  • Hukam Singh Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany



Apoidea, Anthophila, Apidae, Apinae, Electrapini, Protobombus, Melikertini, Melikertes


The fauna of bees known from Early Eocene (Ypresian) Cambay amber are reviewed.  Presently only three species have been recovered, all from among the corbiculate Apinae and representing the extinct tribes Electrapini and Melikertini, and all from genera known from the slightly younger middle Eocene Baltic amber.  A single, poorly-preserved and fragmentary female of an unidentifiable species of Protobombus Cockerell is recorded.  Two new species of the genus Melikertes Engel are documented, one representing a new subgenus, Paramelikertes Engel & Ortega-Blanco, as is a third, fragmentary melikertine of uncertain identity.  The new species are Melikertes (Paramelikertes) gujaratensis Engel & Ortega-Blanco, new species, and M. (Melikertes) kamboja Engel & Ortega-Blanco, new species.


Metrics Loading ...


Berry, E.W. 1931. An insect-cut leaf from the Lower Eocene. American Journal of Science, Series 5 21(124): 301–304.

Brooks, H.K. 1955. Healed wounds and galls on fossil leaves from the Wilcox deposits (Eocene) of western Tennessee. Psyche 62(1): 1–9.

Engel, M.S. 1998. A new species of the Baltic amber bee genus Electrapis (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 7(1): 94–101.

Engel, M.S. 2001a. A monograph of the Baltic amber bees and evolution of the Apoidea (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 259: 1–192.

Engel, M.S. 2001b. Monophyly and extensive extinction of advanced eusocial bees: Insights from an unexpected Eocene diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 98(4): 1661–1664.

Engel, M.S. 2004. Geological history of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Revista de Tecnologia e Ambiente 10(2): 9–33.

Engel, M.S. 2008. A new species of Ctenoplectrella in Baltic amber (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 54(4): 319–324.

Engel, M.S., & S.B. Archibald. 2003. An Early Eocene bee (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) from Quilchena, British Columbia. Canadian Entomologist 135(1): 63–69.

Engel, M.S., & C.D. Michener. 2013. A minute stingless bee in Eocene Fushan amber from northeastern China (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of Melittology 14: 1–10.

Engel, M.S., & E.E. Perkovsky. 2006. An Eocene bee in Rovno amber, Ukraine (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). American Museum Novitates 3506: 1–12.

Engel, M.S., I.A. Hinojosa-Diaz, & A.P. Rasnitsyn. 2009. A honey bee from the Miocene of Nevada and the biogeography of Apis (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apini). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Series 4 60(3): 23–38.

Engel, M.S., D.A. Grimaldi, V.H. Gonzalez, I.A. Hinojosa-Díaz, & C.D. Michener. 2012. An exomalopsine bee in Early Miocene amber from the Dominican Republic (Hymenoptera: Apidae). American Museum Novitates 3758: 1–16.

Engel, M.S., A.D. Pan, & B.F. Jacobs. 2013. A termite from the Late Oligocene of northern Ethiopia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 58(2): 331–334.

Gonzalez, V.H., & M.S. Engel. 2011. A new species of the bee genus Ctenoplectrella in middle Eocene Baltic amber (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae). ZooKeys 111: 41–49.

Kotthoff, U., T. Wappler, & M.S. Engel. 2011. Miocene honey bees from the Randeck Maar of southwestern Germany (Hymenoptera, Apidae). ZooKeys 96: 11–37.

Kotthoff, U., T. Wappler, & M.S. Engel. 2013. Greater past disparity and diversity hints at ancient migrations of European honey bee lineages into Africa and Asia. Journal of Biogeography 40(10): 1832–1838.

Labandeira, C.C. 2002. Paleobiology of middle Eocene plant-insect associations from the Pacific Northwest: A preliminary report. Rocky Mountain Geology 37: 31–59.

Michener, C.D. 2007. The Bees of the World [2nd Edition]. Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore, MD; xvi+[i]+953 pp., +20 pls.

Michez, D., A. Nel, J.-J. Menier, & P. Rasmont. 2007. The oldest fossil of a melittid bee (Hymenoptera: Apiformes) from the Early Eocene of Oise (France). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 150(4): 701–709.

Michez, D., M. Vanderplanck, & M.S. Engel. 2012. Fossil bees and their plant associates. In: Patiny, S. (Ed.), Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships: 103–164. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK; xv+477+[6] pp.

Nascimbene, P., & H. Silverstein. 2000. The preparation of fragile Cretaceous ambers for conservation and study of organismal inclusions. In: Grimaldi, D. (Ed.), Studies on Fossils in Amber, with Particular Reference to the Cretaceous of New Jersey: 93–102. Backhuys Publishers; Leiden, The Netherlands; viii+498 pp.

Ohl, M., & M.S. Engel. 2007. Die Fossilgeschichte der Bienen und ihrer nächsten Verwandten (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Denisia 20: 687–700.

Patiny, S., M.S. Engel, P. Vanmarsenille, & D. Michez. 2007. A new record of Thaumastobombus andreniformis Engel 2001 in Eocene amber (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 43(4): 505–508.

Rust, J., H. Singh, R.S. Rana, T. McCann, L. Singh, K. Anderson, N. Sarkar, P.C. Nascimbene, F. Stebner, J.C. Thomas, M. Solórzano-Kraemer, C.J. Williams, M.S. Engel, A. Sahni, & D. Grimaldi. 2010. Biogeographic and evolutionary implications of a diverse paleobiota in amber from the Early Eocene of India. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 107(43): 18360–18365.

Sarzetti, L.C., C.C. Labandeira, & J.F. Genise. 2008. A leafcutter bee trace fossil from the middle Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina, and a review of megachilid (Hymenoptera) ichnology. Palaeontology 51(4): 933–941.

Sarzetti, L.C., P.A. Dinghi, J.F. Genise, E. Bedatou, & M. Verde. In press. Curved fossil bee cells as tools for reconstructing the evolutionary history and palaeogeographical distribution of Diphaglossinae (Apoidea, Colletidae). Palaeontology

Wappler, T., & M.S. Engel. 2003. The middle Eocene bee faunas of Eckfeld and Messel, Germany (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Journal of Paleontology 77(5): 908–921.

Wappler, T., T. De Meulemeester, A.M. Aytekin, D. Michez, & M.S. Engel. 2012. Geometric morphometric analysis of a new Miocene bumble bee from the Randeck Maar of southwestern Germany (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Systematic Entomology 37(4): 784–792.

Wedmann, S., T. Wappler, & M.S. Engel. 2009. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Naturwissenschaften 96(6): 703–712.

Zeuner, F.E., & F.J. Manning. 1976. A monograph on fossil bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology 27(3): 149–268.




How to Cite

Engel, M. S., Ortega-Blanco, J., Nascimbene, P. C., & Singh, H. (2013). The bees of Early Eocene Cambay amber (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of Melittology, 25, 1-12.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >>