Biogeographical correlates of population variance in the honeybees (Apis mellifera L) of AfricaH.R. Hepburna and S.E. Radloffb
a Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
b Department of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
Abstract - Multivariate analyses of morphometric characteristics of worker honeybees from five transects through northwestern, northeastern, west central, southwestern and southeastern Africa yielded sequences of statistically defined morphoclusters (= subspecies) alternating with heterogeneous zones of introgression. All transects contain areas of significantly high variance. High intracolonial variance indicates localised genetic variation and out-cross matings. Regions of high intercolonial variance occur at and between subspecific boundaries. These are typical of transitions between, and rainfall-temperature discontinuities within, different ecological-climatological zones. They constitute areas of ecological instability amidst otherwise contiguous populations.
Key words: honeybee / populations / morphometrics / variance / phenology / Africa