Morphometrical investigation in Syrian honeybeesA. Ftayeha, M. Meixnerb and S. Fuchsb
a Faculty of Agriculture, University of Damascus, PO Box 7127 Damascus, Syria
b Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie der WJ Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
Abstract - Twenty-seven samples from 8 locations covering the main regions of Syria were analysed morphometrically according to the methods of Ruttner et al (1978). Bees were identified by discriminant analysis as Apis mellifera meda in the north and north-east of Syria and as A m syriaca in the south. Between these regions, both races were found. A m meda samples were close to the eastern subpopulation of A m meda (Iraq), and differed distinctly from the north-western subpopulation (Turkey). In the Damascus area, 3 samples were clearly identified as A m ligustica probably originating from importation of these bees. The results show an original north-south transition of predominance from A m meda to A m syriaca approximately between Damascus and Hama, which is increasingly obscured by increased mobility in modern beekeeping. While some characteristics indicate hybridization, others point to local variation of the races specific to Syria.
Key words: Apis mellifera / biogeography / morphometry / Syria