Free access
Issue
Apidologie
Volume 22, Number 6, 1991
Evolution and genetics
Page(s) 581 - 590
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/apido:19910602
Apidologie 22 (1991) 581-590
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19910602

An evolutionary approach to mating behaviour and drone copulatory organs in Apis

N. Koenigera and G. Koenigerb

a  Universität Frankfurt aM, Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie der JW Goethe- Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 637 Oberursel 1, Germany
b  Universität Frankfurt aM, Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie der JW Goethe- Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 637 Oberursel 1, Germanry

Abstract - Copulation in free flight seems to be a common character of all Apis species. Analysis of mating behaviour in A mellifera revealed the typical behavioural sequence of mating on a substrate in Apoidea. The connection between the queen and the paralyzed drone is mainly achieved by the endophallus. By special adhesive organs on the hind legs of the drone, A dorsata has developed an additional means of attachment to the queen. A andreniformis and A florea drones have reduced the mass of mucus and seem to depend mainly on the hind legs for the copulatory connection to the queen. The A florea endophallus, freed from its mechanical function , can place its tip in the optimal position: sperm is transferred directly into the spermaduct rather than into the oviducts . The opposite polarity - an evolution from substrate mating to an A florea type and then to an A cerana and A mellifera type lacks of any functional support.


Key words: evolution / mating behaviour / copulation / Apis