Free Access
Volume 31, Number 4, July-August 2000
Page(s) 479 - 486
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000140

Apidologie 31 (2000) 479-486

Modes of worker reproduction, reproductive dominance and brood cell construction in queenless honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies

Peter Neumanna,b - H. Randall Hepburna - Sarah E. Radloffc

aDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
bMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Fachgebiet Molekulare Ökologie, Institut für Zoologie, Kröllwitzerstr. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
cDepartment of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

(Received 14 October 1999; revised 18 February 2000; accepted 21 February 2000)


Colonies of A. m. capensis, A. m. scutellata and their natural hybrids were dequeened and debrooded. The ratio of worker/drone cell construction and the sex of laying worker offspring were determined for 26 colonies. All A. m. capensis laying workers were thelytokous and all A. m. scutellata arrhenotokous. 42.1% of the hybrid colonies produced only female offspring while none produced only male offspring. This shows a significant advantage for thelytokous laying workers to become reproductively dominant in hybrid colonies. A. m. capensis colonies built only worker cells and A. m. scutellata only drone cells. Hybrid colonies produced either both cell types or only worker cells according to the mode of laying worker reproduction. In all colonies where laying workers produced male offspring drone cell building was found. Our data strongly indicates that the mode of worker reproduction holds important consequences for cell construction and reproductive dominance.

Apis mellifera capensis / Apis mellifera scutellata / honeybee / hybrids / laying worker / reproductive dominance / brood cell

Correspondence and reprints: Peter Neumann

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