Free Access
Volume 38, Number 3, May-June 2007
Page(s) 247 - 258
Published online 07 March 2007
Apidologie 38 (2007) 247-258
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2007006

Morphological and molecular characters reveal differentiation in a Neotropical social bee, Melipona beecheii (Apidae: Meliponini)

José Javier G. Quezada-Euána, Robert J. Paxtonb, Kellie A. Palmerc, William de J. May Itzáa, Wee Tek Tayd and Benjamin P. Oldroydc

a  Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Apdo. postal 4-116, Mérida Yucatán 97100, Mexico
b  School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, UK
c  School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
d  ARC Department of Genetics Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

(Received 23 February 2006 - Revised 21 September 2006 - Accepted 8 October 2006 - Published online 7 March 2007)

Abstract - Morphometrics and DNA microsatellites were used to analyse the genetic structure of populations of the stingless bee M. beecheii from two extremes of its geographic range. The results showed that populations from Costa Rica and Yucatan exhibit substantial phenotypic and molecular differentiation. Bees from Yucatan were smaller and paler than those from Costa Rica. The value of multilocus FST = 0.280 (P < 0.001) confirmed that there were significant molecular genetic differences between the two populations. Populations showed significant deviation from Hardy Weinberg equilibrium and the values of FIS (the inbreeding coefficient) were positive for Costa Rica = 0.416 and the Yucatan Peninsula = 0.193, indicating a lack of heterozygotes in both populations possibly due to inbreeding. The DNA sequence of 678 bp of the mitochondrial gene COI differed between populations by 1.2%. The results of this study should be considered in conservation programmes, particularly with regard to the movement of colonies between regions.

Key words: stingless bee / Melipona / population analysis / Yucatan / Costa Rica / genetic diversity

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© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007