Free Access
Volume 36, Number 2, April-June 2005
the neglected gender - males in bees
Page(s) 201 - 209
Published online 01 June 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 201-209
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005006

Paternity skew in seven species of honeybees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Apis)

Helge Schlünsa, Robin F.A. Moritza, H. Michael G. Lattorffa and Gudrun Koenigerb

a  Institut für Zoologie, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany
b  Institut für Bienenkunde, Polytechnische Gesellschaft, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

(Received 5 October 2004 - Revised 23 November 2004 - Accepted 13 December 2004; Published online: 1 June 2005)

Abstract - Honeybees (Apis) show an extremely polyandrous mating system. In general honeybee queens mate with at least ten drones. The reproductive success of the drones is usually biased giving rise to speculations of a first or last male advantage. Especially for A. andreniformis and A. florea a first male advantage was hypothesized due to the peculiar anatomy of their male genitalia. We reanalyzed data from the literature by using a sample size calibration method to survey the differences and similarities in paternity skew among species in the genus Apis. The paternity skew among seven honeybee species differed significantly, particularly due to the rare patrilines. The sorting algorithm, i.e. the ranking of the patrilines, had, however, a considerable effect on the paternity skew pattern. The frequent patrilines appeared to be similarly distributed in all tested species. As a consequence the proposed first male advantage in the dwarf honeybees is not supported by empirical data.

Key words: Apis / honeybee / polyandry / patrilines / paternity skew

Corresponding author: Helge Schlüns

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005