Free Access
Volume 31, Number 2, March-April 2000
Taxonomy and Evolutionary biology of the Honeybees
Page(s) 235 - 248
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000119

Apidologie 31 (2000) 235-248

Evolution of multiple mating in the genus Apis

Kellie A. Palmer - Benjamin P. Oldroyd

School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia


Multiple mating by social insect queens is a widespread phenomenon. Because of the apparent inclusive fitness benefits of monandry, and the potential costs of polyandry, explanations for the evolution of multiple mating have been frequently sought. Current leading explanations are collectively known as "genetic variance" hypotheses which posit that both queen and colony fitness are increased by an increase in the intracolonial genetic diversity that accrues from multiple mating. However, the precise way in which genetic diversity acts to increase colony fitness is not clear. Furthermore, some of these hypotheses are probably insufficient to explain extreme levels of polyandry observed in the genus Apis.

Keywords: Apis / genetic variance / polyandry / task specialization / parasite

Correspondence and reprints: Kellie A. Palmer

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