Illustrations from Anatomy of the Honey Bee by R.E. Snodgrass

Bee Health March 11, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

Although this work is a century old it is still one of the best descriptions of honey bee anatomy available.
Download a full version of The Anatomy of the Honey Bee.

Longitudinal, median, vertical section of entire body of worker, showing nervous system (OpL-7Gng), tracheal system (TraSc, 1-10), dorsal and ventral diaphragms of abdomen (DDph and VDph), and dorasl vessel consisting of heart (Ht) and aorta (Ao)

Download a larger version: Cross section of a worker.

The Head of the Bee and its Appendages

A, longitudinal section through head of worker between the median plane and outer edges of mandibles (Md) and antennae (Ant) of left side, all internal soft parts removed; B, corresponding section through head of drone, except that the pharynx (Phy) and esophagus (E) are not removed.'

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Antennal hairs and sense organs (after Schiemenz). A, example of antennal hairs (Hr) imbedded in cuticle (Ctl) but having no nerve connection; B, hollow hair containing prolongation of special cell (Cl); C, D, straight and curved tactile hairs connected with basal cells (Cl) and nerve fibers (Nv); E, conical hair (Hr) sunken in a pit (Pt) of the cuticle, probably an olfactory organ; F, closed sac shut in by thin disc (hr) on surface of antenna and containing a delicately poised cell (Cl) with nerve connection (Nv).

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Mouth parts of the worker: A, tip of glossa, showing labellum (Lbl), guard hairs (Hr), and ventral groove (k); B, game, from above; C, small piece of glossal rod (r) with adjoining parts of walls (q) of glossal canal attached, showing ventral channel (l) guarded by rows of hairs. D, parts forming the proboscis, labium in middle and maxillae at sides, flattened out, ventral view; E, cross section of glossa showing its invaginated channel (Lum) and position of rod (r) along its dorsal wall, and likewise position of channel (l) of rod along median line within the glossal channel; F, end of mentum (Mt) and bases of ligula (Lg) and labial palpi (LbPlp) , showing opening of salivary duct (SalDO), dorsal view; G, lateral view of proboscis showing parts on left side; II, lateral view of glossa (Gls) with its rod (r) torn away at base showing attachment of retractor muscles (2RMcl).

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Median longitudinal section of head of worker, but with entire labium attached, showing internal organs except muscles and brain.

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The Thorax and its Appendages

Dorsal view of ventral walls and internal skeleton of body of worker.

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Wings of Hymenoptera and their basal articular sclerites (lAx-4Ax) : A, Sirex flavicornis, front wing; B, Pepsis sp., front wing; C, honey bee, front wing; D, honey bee, hind wing.

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A, left front leg of worker, anterior view, showing position of notch (dd) of antenna cleaner on base of first tarsal joint (1Tar) and of closing spine (ee) on end of tibia (Tb); B, spine of antenna cleaner (ee) in flat view; C, details of antenna cleaner; D, left middle leg of worker, anterior view; E, left hind leg of queen, anterior or outer view; F, left hind leg of worker, anterior or outer view, showing the pollen basket (Cb) on outer surface of tibia (Tb) ; G, inner view of first tarsal joint of hind leg of worker showing rows of pollen-gathering hairs and the so-called "wax shears" (ff) ; H, left hind leg of drone, anterior or outer view.

Download a larger version: Legs of honey bees.

A, dorsal view of end of last tarsal joint of first foot (Tar), the claws (Cla), and empodium (Emp) of worker; B, ventral view of same; C, lateral view of same, showing empodium in ordinary position when not in use.

Download a larger version: Last tarsal joint (feet) of honey bees.

Details of sting of worker: A, section through tip of sting showing lancets (Let) and shaft of sheath (ShS) surrounding central poison canal (PsnC), and each containing a prolongation of the body-cavity (bc); B, section of same near base of bulb; C, section of sting through basal bulb. showing poison canal as large invaginated cavity (PsnC) in bulb of sheath (ShB) containing the two valves (Vlv) of lancets (Let) ; D, part of left lancet carrying valve (Vlv), dorsal view; E, tip of lancet showing pores opening on bases of barbs (oo) coming from body-cavity (bc) of lancet - not from poison canal; F, dorsal view of shaft of sheath showing lateral series of pores (oo) from prolongation of body-cavity (bc); G, lateral view of left valve and part of lancet.

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The Alimentary Canal and its Glands

Alimentary canal of worker (Phy-Rect), together with pharyngeal glands (1Gl), and salivary glands of head (2Gl) and of thorax (3Gl), as seen by cutting body open from above and pulling the ventriculus (Vent) out to left.

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A, honey stomach (HS) of worker with posterior end of esophagus (E), proventriculus (Pvent), and anterior end of ventriculus (Vent); B, same of queen; C, honey stomach (HS) cf worker mostly cut away exposing the stomach-mouth (nn) of proventriculus (Pvent) leading into ventriCUlus (Vent) ; D, honey stomach of drone.

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The Respiratory System

Tracheal system of worker as seen from above, one anterior pair of abdominal sacs (fig. 1, 9) removed and transverse ventral commissures of abdomen not shown.

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Tracheal system of worker showing lateral and ventral parts as seen from above, with dorsal sacs and trunks removed in both thorax and abdomen.

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The Nervous System and the Eyes

Nervous system of worker, dorsal view.

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Horizontal section of compound eye and optic lobe of worker (after Phillips): BM, basement membrane; Cor, cornea; fm1, fm2, fm3, outer, middle, and inner fibrillar bodies of optic lobe; inner ch, inner chiasma; Om, ommatidium ; OpL, optic lobe; outer ch, outer chiasma.

Download a larger version: Cross section of the eye.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.