Free Access
Volume 31, Number 2, March-April 2000
Taxonomy and Evolutionary biology of the Honeybees
Page(s) 191 - 204
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000116

Apidologie 31 (2000) 191-204

Spatial analysis of morphological variation in African honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) on a continental scale

José A.F. Diniz-Filhoa - H. Randall Hepburnb - Sarah Radloffc - Stefan Fuchsd

aDepartmento de Biologia Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, C.P. 131, 74.001-970 Goiânia, GO, Brazil
bDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, 6140 Grahamstown, South Africa
cDepartment of Statistics, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, 6140 Grahamstown, South Africa
dInstitut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie der J-W. Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Karl-von-Frisch Weg 2, D-61440 Oberursel, Germany


Population differentiation of African honeybees has been analysed in a spatial context encompassing the continent's wide geographical range and environmental heterogeneity, based on 10 morphological characters measured from 268 local populations. While autocorrelation indicates a continuous large-scale decrease in similarity in general, clustering of single character correlograms suggests four distinct groups of profiles. This pattern, further supported by mapping factor scores, canonical trend surface analysis axes scores, suggests a variety of microevolutionary mechanisms acting at distinct scales in time and space in different groups of characters. Association with large-scale differences in vegetation, climate and traditional subspecific classification has been analysed by analysis of variance (ANOVA). The most important aspect is that the results support the hypothesis that traditional subspecies, at least as defined by these characters, seem to represent integrated evolutionary units well adapted to their local conditions.

Keywords: Apis mellifera / Africa / biogeography / spatial analysis

Correspondence and reprints: José A.F. Diniz-Filho

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