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Volume 33, Number 2, March-April 2002
The Cape honeybee (Apis mellifera capensis). From laying workers to social parasites
Page(s) 129 - 137

Apidologie 33 (2002) 129-137
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002005

A method for estimating variation in the phenotypic expression of morphological characters by thelytokous parthenogenesis in Apis mellifera capensis

Sarah E. Radloffa, Randall Hepburnb, Peter Neumannc, Robin F.A. Moritzc and Per Krygerd

a  Department of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
b  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
c  Institut für Zoologie/Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität, Kröllwitzer Str. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
d  Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa

(Received 21 August 2001; revised 29 October 2001; accepted 20 December 2001)

Thelytokous parthenogenesis in Cape worker honeybees, Apis mellifera capensis, was used to produce a series of clonal progeny that were reared in three different, queenless arrhenotokous A. m. scutellata host colonies. Each individual Cape worker bee was genotyped at 4 DNA microsatellite loci to verify its clonal status and measured for 36 morphological characters. The clonal workers bees, all of the same thelytokous matriline, were then analysed by multivariate analysis to determine the quantitative effects of environment on the morphological characters. This in turn allows the estimation of the natural variation in the phenotypic expression of morphological characters. Coefficients of environmental variation were calculated and the relative stability of the character set was, in decreasing order, body size, forewings, wing venation, hairs and pigmentation.

Key words: Apis mellifera capensis / clone / honeybee / morphometrics / environmental variance / thelytoky

Correspondence and reprints: Sarah E. Radloff

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2002