Free Access
Volume 35, Number 6, November-December 2004
Page(s) 637 - 644
Apidologie 35 (2004) 637-644
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004058

Apis cerana from Myanmar (Burma): unusual distribution of mitochondrial lineages

Deborah R. Smitha, Natapot Warrita and H. Randall Hepburnb

a  Entomology Program, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Haworth Hall, 1200 Sunnyside Ave., University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
b  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

(Received 23 June 2003; revised 29 January 2004; accepted 5 April 2004)

Abstract - We investigate genetic variation and biogeography of the cavity-nesting honey bee, Apis cerana, F. in Burma, to add them to the larger picture of A. cerana biogeography in Asia. Non-coding regions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 23 colonies collected from 12 localities are sequenced to identify their genetic lineages. Six haplotypes were found (Japan1, Nepal1, ThaiS1, BurmaN1, BurmaN2, and BurmaN3) belonging to two A. cerana mtDNA lineages: Mainland Asian and Sundaland. The Mainland lineage was found in most parts of Burma except the Southeast, where a Sundaland population was found. Studies in Thailand suggested that the Sundaland lineage was not found north of 10° 34' N; this study shows there is a Sundaland population in Burma at 19°-20° N latitude. We propose three hypotheses to explain the presence of the Sundaland lineage in Burma: (1) Burma Sundaland bees are a relict of a formerly more widespread Sundaland population; (2) Sundaland bees migrated to this part of Burma from the southern Thai-Malay peninsula; or (3) transportation by humans.

Key words: Apis cerana / Myanmar / Burma / mitochondrial DNA / biogeography

Corresponding author: Deborah R. Smith

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004