Free access
Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 2008
Page(s) 488 - 494
Published online 28 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 488-494
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008028

Identification of Africanized honey bees through wing morphometrics: two fast and efficient procedures

Tiago Mauricio Francoy1, Dieter Wittmann2, Martin Drauschke3, Stefan Müller3, Volker Steinhage3, Marcela A. F. Bezerra-Laure1, David De Jong1 and Lionel Segui Gonçalves4

1  Depto. de Genética, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, USP, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2  Institut für Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften und Ressourcenschutz, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany
3  Institut für Informatik III, Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany
4  Depto. de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, USP, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 28 December 2007 – Revised 10 March 2008 – Accepted 19 March 2008 - Published online 28 October 2008

Abstract - Currently available morphometric and genetic techniques that can accurately identify Africanized honey bees are both costly and time consuming. We tested two new morphometric techniques (ABIS – Automatic Bee Identification System and geometric morphometrics analysis) on samples consisting of digital images of five worker forewings per colony. These were collected from 394 colonies of Africanized bees from all over Brazil and from colonies of African bees, Apis mellifera scutellata (n = 14), and European bees, A. m. ligustica (n = 10), A. m. mellifera (n = 15), and A. m. carnica (n=15) from the Ruttner collection in Oberursel, Germany (preserved specimens). Both methods required less than five minutes per sample, giving more than 99% correct identifications. There was just one misidentification (based on geometric morphometrics analysis) of Africanized bees compared with European subspecies, which would be the principal concern in newly-colonized areas, such as the southern USA. These new techniques are inexpensive, fast and precise.

Key words: Africanized honey bee / morphometrics / geometric morphometrics analysis / ABIS / Apis mellifera / automatic identification

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008