Open Access
Volume 37, Number 1, January-February 2006
Page(s) 91 - 97
Published online 10 January 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 91-97
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005062

Morphometric differences in a single wing cell can discriminate Apis mellifera racial types

Tiago Maurício Francoya, Pedro Roberto Rodrigues Pradoa, b, Lionel Segui Gonçalvesc, Luciano da Fontoura Costab and David De Jonga

a  Depto. de Genética, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, USP, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
b  Instituto de Física de São Carlos, USP, São Carlos, SP, Brazil
c  Depto. de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, USP, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

(Received 7 February 2005 - revised 14 July 2005 - accepted 25 July 2005 - published online 10 January 2006)

Abstract - Morphometry is a very powerful, though often laborious and time-consuming, tool for the identification of bee species and subspecies. In an attempt to develop a simplified methodology for such work, we marked five easily identified landmarks of digitalized images of the right forewing radial cell in 50 workers of each of three different racial groups of Apis mellifera. Software was developed to calculate angles between the landmarks, cell area, continuous curvature, and arc lengths (total of 11 characters). Based on multivariate analysis, significant differences were detected between commercial USA Italian bees, German Carniolan bees and Africanized honey bees (a polyhybrid that is predominantly Apis mellifera scutellata). A single wing cell carried enough information to discriminate nearly 99% of the individuals. Most of the classifications gave P > 0.99, and only three Africanized bees were misclassified. We concluded that the features measured in a single wing cell are sufficient to discriminate these racial groups.

Key words: Apis mellifera ligustica / Apis mellifera carnica / Africanized honey bee / morphometry / multivariate statistics / subspecific taxonomy

Corresponding author: Lionel Segui Gonçalves

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006