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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685


RADLOFF, Sarah  and  HEPBURN, Randall. Population structure and morphometric variance of the Apis mellifera scutellata group of honeybees in Africa. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2000, vol.23, n.2, pp.305-316. ISSN 1678-4685.

The honeybee populations of Africa classified as Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier were analysed morphometrically using multivariate statistical techniques. The collection consisted of nearly 15,000 worker honeybees from 825 individual colonies at 193 localities in east Africa, extending from South Africa to Ethiopia. Factor analysis established one primary cluster, designated as A. m. scutellata. Morphocluster formation and inclusivity (correct classification) are highly sensitive to sampling distance intervals. Within the A. m. scutellata region are larger bees associated with high altitudes of mountain systems which are traditionally classified as A. m. monticola Smith, but it is evident that these bees do not form a uniform group. Variance characteristics of the morphometric measurements show domains of significantly different local populations. These high variance populations mostly occur at transitional edges of major climatic and vegetational zones, and sometimes with more localised discontinuities in temperature. It is also now evident that those A. m. scutellata introduced nearly fifty years ago into the Neotropics were a particularly homogenous sample, which exhibited all the traits expected in a founder effect or bottleneck population.

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