Free Access
Volume 27, Number 3, 1996
Page(s) 165 - 174
Apidologie 27 (1996) 165-174
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19960305

Mitochondrial DNA sequence data provides further evidence that the honeybees of Kangaroo Island, Australia are of hybrid origin

S. Koulianos and R.H. Crozier

School of Genetics and Human Variation, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3083, Australia

Abstract - Morphological, multivariate and allozyme data show that the honeybee populations of Kangaroo Island, Australia, are more similar to Apis mellifera ligustica than A m mellifera. However, our sequence analysis of the ATPase 6, COIII, cytochrome b and ND2 mitochondrial genes shows a significant association, 100% according to bootstrap resampling, between the Kangaroo Island haplotype and A m mellifera. Therefore it is likely that the Kangaroo Island population was originally established from hybrids. We conclude that the ancestral populations of A m mellifera contained both the 'mellifera' haplotypes reported here, with complementary fixations in Tasmania and on Kangaroo Island. Since A m mellifera mtDNA haplotypes are shared between Australian honeybees classified as A m mellifera and A m ligustica, then the dichotomous nature of mtDNA lineages cannot be used to identify bees to subspecies in Australia.

Key words: Apis mellifera / mitochondrial DNA / phylogenetic analysis / Kangaroo Island / Australia