A morphometric analysis of Apis cerana F and Apis nigrocincta Smith populations from Southeast AsiaM.S. Damus and G.W. Otis
Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Abstract - Apis cerana F and Apis nigrocincta Smith, two species of Asian cavity nesting honey bees, were analyzed for interpopulation morphological variation using conventional morphometric techniques. The well-known honey bee subspecies Apis cerana cerana and A c japonica are confirmed as being distinct from the rest of A cerana, even though the analysis removed the confounding influence of 'overall size' from the data set. There are at least three other morphologically distinct groups: one ranging from Sri Lanka through to Flores and central Sulawesi, a second group so far only found in southern Sulawesi, and a group from Timor. A large phenetic shift has occurred in the second Sulawesi group, indicating that it may have evolved in isolation for a long period of time, or undergone rapid divergence following a more recent bottleneck event. A nigrocincta is shown to be present over most of western Sulawesi, on Mindanao and on Sangihe, a small island between Mindanao and Sulawesi. The Mindanao and Sulawesi forms are distinct, but the small sample size did not allow for subspecific recognition. Bees from Luzon, previously identified as A c philippina, are shown to be very distinct from both A cerana and A nigrocincta, and the possibility of their belonging to the species A nigrocincta is discussed.
Key words: Apis cerana / Apis nigrocincta / morphometrics / Southeast Asia / honey bees