Free access
Volume 40, Number 2, March-April 2009
Page(s) 97 - 105
Published online 03 February 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 97-105
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2008068

Morphological study of Honeybees (Apis mellifera) from Libya

Taher Shaibi1, Stefan Fuchs2 and Robin F.A. Moritz1

1  Institut für Biologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
2  Institut für Bienenkunde Fachbereich Biologie der J. W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany

Received 21 November 2007 – Revised 6 September 2008 – Accepted 13 October 2008 - Published online 3 February 2009

Abstract - We show, with classical morphometrical analyses, that Libyan honeybees sampled at coastal and desert locations are distinctly different from both the adjacent A. m. intermissa bee populations of Tunisia and Algeria and those of A. m. lamarckii of Egypt. The morphotype was most closely related to A. m. sahariensis and, based on wing venation angles, showed affinities to A. m. jemenitica, indicating that the sampled populations might be derived from a formerly extended Saharan honeybee population during the Holocene pluvial. Scattered morphometric similarities to the European bee A. m. ligustica suggest that importation of honeybees from Italy may have had only minor impact on endemic Libyan honeybee populations. Conservation measures might be particularly appropriate for remote oasis populations, which might be true relic population from the Holocene.

Key words: Apis mellifera / morphometry / Libya / sahariensis / conservation

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009