Free access
Volume 38, Number 2, March-April 2007
Page(s) 191 - 197
Published online 13 February 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 191-197
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006068

Apis mellifera mellifera in eastern Europe - morphometric variation and determination of its range limits

Marina D. Meixnera, Miroslaw Worobikb, c, Jerzy Wildec, Stefan Fuchsb and Nikolaus Koenigerb

a  Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6382, USA
b  Institut für Bienenkunde, Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Universität Frankfurt, Karl-von Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
c  Apiculture Division, Warmia and Mazury University, Sloneczna 48, 10-710 Olsztyn, Poland

(Received 7 February 2006 - Accepted 30 August 2006 - Published online 13 February 2007)

Abstract - The variability of Apis mellifera mellifera in Eastern Europe was investigated with a morphometric analysis of 136 samples from Poland, Belarus and the Ukraine. Samples from the northern part of this area were unambiguously classified as A. m. mellifera, but the proportion of uncertain allocations increased towards the south, where some samples were classified as hybrids between A. m. mellifera and subspecies of the lineages C and O. In the Ukraine, one third of the samples were classified as A. m. mellifera, one third as A. m. macedonica, and one third as hybrids. Our results confirm earlier reports of a large hybrid zone in Poland and the Ukraine, but they unexpectedly also show a strong influence of the morphological O lineage. However, the true extension of this hybrid zone currently remains unknown. The bees of northeastern Belarus showed an extreme position on the border of the A. m. mellifera cluster, potentially indicating ecotypic variation within A. m. mellifera in the northeast of its range.

Key words: Apis mellifera mellifera / morphometry / hybrid zone / Eastern Europe / range limit

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007