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Volume 31, Number 2, March-April 2000
Taxonomy and Evolutionary biology of the Honeybees
Page(s) 265 - 279
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000121

Apidologie 31 (2000) 265-279

Biogeography of Apis cerana F. and A. nigrocincta Smith: insights from mtDNA studies

Deborah R. Smitha - Lynn Villafuerteb - Gard Otisc - Michael R. Palmera

aDepartment of Entomology, Haworth Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
bInstitute of Biological Sciences, Genetics and Molecular Biology Division, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Philippines
cDepartment of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada


This study adds new data from Korea and the Philippines to earlier mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-based studies of the phylogeography of Asian cavity-nesting honeybees. A non-coding region that lies between the leucine tRNA gene and the cytochrome oxidase II gene of the mitochondrial genome was sequenced in bees from 153 colonies of Apis cerana and A. nigrocincta, revealing 41 different haplotypes. Five sequences could not be aligned with the others, two (from India and Sri Lanka) because the sequences were exceedingly A+T rich, and three (from Taiwan, the Philippines, and A. nigrocincta) because most of the non-coding sequence was absent. The remaining 36 sequences were aligned, and used in a phylogenetic analysis of A. cerana and A. nigrocincta populations. Both neighbor-joining and parsimony analyses were carried out, yielding similar results. We found five major groups of haplotypes: an Asian mainland group, a Sundaland group, a Palawan group, a Luzon-Mindanao group, and A. nigrocincta. The geographic distribution of these mtDNA haplotypes appears to be strongly influenced by changes in sea-level during Pleistocene glaciations.

Keywords: Apis cerana / A. nigrocincta / mtDNA / biogeography / phylogeny

Correspondence and reprints: Deborah R. Smith

Copyright INRA/DIB/AGIB/EDP Sciences

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