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Volume 28, Number 5, 1997
Intra-specific variation in the honeybee
Page(s) 243 - 258
Apidologie 28 (1997) 243-258
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19970501

Biogeographical correlates of population variance in the honeybees (Apis mellifera L) of Africa

H.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