Free access
Volume 38, Number 4, July-August 2007
Page(s) 341 - 353
Published online 10 October 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 341-353
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2007020

Comparison of pollen spectra collected by four different subspecies of the honey bee Apis mellifera

Kirsten Köpplera, Günther Vorwohlb and Nikolaus Koenigera

a  Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), J. W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
b  Landesanstalt für Bienenkunde der Universität Hohenheim, August-von-Hartmann-Str.13, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

(Received 30 July 2006 - Revised 15 February 2007 - Accepted 19 February 2007 - Published online 10 October 2007)

Abstract - Colonies belonging to 4 subspecies of Apis mellifera, namely A. m. capensis, A. m. ligustica, A. m. carnica and A. m. mellifera were placed, one colony per subspecies, at 5 sites with a high floral diversity in the Taunus region in Germany. A total amount of 4008.3 g of pollen loads were trapped during 3 seasons and 214 different pollen types were identified. The comparison of pollen spectra did not result in a separation of the subspecies. Date of sampling and sampling site, however, had a major effect on the composition of pollen samples. Furthermore, subspecies were not significantly different in the structure of dominance, evenness and diversity of pollen types. We conclude that the investigated subspecies of Apis mellifera follow a generalist pollen foraging strategy which may be mainly shaped by natural selection to meet the nutritional and social requirements of populous colonies.

Key words: Apis mellifera / pollen sources / honey bee / subspecies / foraging strategy

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007