Free Access
Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 2008
Page(s) 558 - 563
Published online 28 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 558-563
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008037

Using geometric morphometrics and standard morphometry to discriminate three honeybee subspecies

Adam Tofilski

Department of Pomology and Apiculture, Agricultural University, 29 Listopada 54, 31-425 Krakow, Poland

Received 12 February 2008 – Revised 21 May 2008 – Accepted 23 May 2008 - Published online 28 October 2008

Abstract - Honeybee (Apis mellifera) subspecies usually are distinguished by standard morphometry methods, based mainly on multivariate analysis of distances and angles. Recently another method of statistical analysis of shape, geometric morphometrics, has been developed. The new method is based on characteristic points described by Cartesian coordinates. The two methods were used here to discriminate three honeybee subspecies (A. m. mellifera, A. m. carnica and A. m. caucasica) according to forewing venation. Forewing venation was described either by coordinates of 18 vein junctions and centroid size or by 4 distances and 11 angles. All colonies, described by mean of 10 workers, were correctly classified using both methods. In the case of individual wings discrimination, geometric morphometrics was 84.9% successful and standard morphometry was 83.8% successful. The results show that geometric morphometrics is marginally more reliable than standard morphometry for discrimination of honeybee subspecies.

Key words: geometric morphometrics / standard morphometry / subspecies discrimination / Apis mellifera

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008