Free Access
Volume 32, Number 5, September-October 2001
Page(s) 435 - 447
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001142

Apidologie 32 (2001) 435-447

Morphometric analysis of Apis cerana populations in the southern Himalayan region

H. Randall Hepburna, Sarah E. Radloffb, S. Vermac and L.R. Vermac

a  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 6140 South Africa
b  Department of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 6140 South Africa
c  Department of Bio-Sciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla 171005, HP, India

(Received 6 February 2001; revised 23 May 2001; accepted 29 June 2001)

Multivariate analyses of morphometric traits of Apis cerana were measured from 3704 individual workers of 279 colonies from 64 localities with an average sampling distance resolution of 50 km along a 2200 km transect in the southern Himalayan region bordered by Pakistan to the west and Myanmar to the east. Factor and discriminant function analyses revealed four major morphoclusters (= unnamed subspecies), two of which are further subdivisable into three biometric subgroups each. These morphoclusters can only be partially integrated into any current subspecific nomenclature available for Apis cerana. Morphocluster separation is related to physiographic differences which create a partial temporal reproductive isolation associated with altitude. High variance domains occur at the edges of morphocluster and biometric groupings. The bees decrease in size from west to east but increase in size with increasing altitude.

Key words: Apis cerana / honeybees / morphoclusters / population genetics / southern Himalayas

Correspondence and reprints: H. Randall Hepburn

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001