Free access
Volume 36, Number 2, April-June 2005
the neglected gender - males in bees
Page(s) 223 - 229
Published online 01 June 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 223-229
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005010

Using drones for estimating colony number by microsatellite DNA analyses of haploid males in Apis

F. Bernhard Krausa, Nikolaus Koenigerb, Salim Tingekc and Robin F.A. Moritza

a   Institut für Zoologie, Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
b   Institut für Bienenkunde, (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie und Informatik der J.W. Goethe - Universität Frankfurt, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
c   Agricultural Research Station Tenom, PO Box 197, 89908 Tenom, Sabah, Malaysia

(Received 5 October 2004 - Revised 26 November 2004 - Accepted 1 December 2004; Published online: 1 June 2005)

Abstract - In social insects the number of colonies rather than the actual number of individuals in the population primarily determines the effective population size. Here we present a method where microsatellite data of haploid males can be used to estimate the number of male producing queens in honeybee populations. A cluster analysis based on the allelic identity by descent (AID) among male genotypes is used to group potential brother males. For each "brother cluster" the corresponding mother queen genotype is determined by Mendelian inference. We show in various simulations that although limited number of screened loci can result in slightly biased estimates, the precision improves considerably with increasing number of loci. Empirical data from microsatellite studies of the Western honeybee Apis mellifera and the giant Asian honeybee Apis dorsata are presented to illustrate the application of the procedure.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Apis dorsata / haploid male / honeybees / microsatellite / population size

Corresponding author: F. Bernhard Kraus

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005