Free access
Volume 39, Number 6, November-December 2008
Page(s) 674 - 682
Published online 24 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 674-682
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008052

An adventitious distal abscissa in the forewing of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apis)

Ken Tan1, 2, Stefan Fuchs3 and Michael S. Engel4

1  Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Science, Kunming, Yunnan Province, 650223, People's Republic of China
2  Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan, Agricultural University, Heilongtan, Kunming, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China
3  Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biowissenschaften der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
4  Division of Entomology (Paleoentomology), Natural History Museum, and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 1501 Crestline Drive – Suite 140, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66049-2811, USA

Received 2 June 2008 – Revised and acepted 8 August 2008 - Published online 24 October 2008

Abstract - The presence of an adventitious distal abscissa in the forewing venation of honey bees is recorded. The vein arises from the posterior quarter of the second submarginal cell, on the apical surface of the 2rs-m crossvein. The homology of this vein is discussed and its presence broadly compared across Hymenoptera so as to establish its correct identity. Based on the overall homology of hymenopteran wing venation it is concluded that this is a reacquisition the vein “Rs2” and we accordingly tentatively term it “aRs2”. The aRs2 was found in both Apis cerana Fabricius and A. mellifera Linnaeus at moderate frequencies, although it predominantly occurs in northeast Asian populations of the former. Species of the giant honey bees (Megapis) and dwarf honey bees (Micrapis) were found to lack the vein entirely, while the vein was found at low levels in other Asian lineages (Apis s.str.). The predilection to possess the vein appears to be a trait supporting the cavity-nesting honey bee clade (Apis s.str.).

Key words: comparative morphology / Apini / wing venation / homology / Apis

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008