Spatial and temporal dynamics of the male effective population size in bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Wolf, S., Toev, T., Moritz, R.L.V. et al. Popul Ecol (2012) 54: 115. doi:10.1007/s10144-011-0285-2
- 242 Views
Eusociality and male haploidy of bumblebees (Bombus spp.) enhance the deleterious effects of population decline and aggravate the degeneration of population fitness compared to solitary and diploid species. The highly dispersive male sex may be the prime driver to connect otherwise isolated populations. We therefore studied the temporal and spatial structure of the male population of Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus 1758) and Bombus lapidarius (Linnaeus 1758) using microsatellite DNA markers. We found that the majority of the males in a 1000 m² sampling area originated from colonies located outside of the workers foraging range, which was consistent with the genetic distances among colonies. The analyses of temporal population sub-structure based on both colony detection rate over time and the clustering software STRUCTURE consistently suggested one large and temporally unstructured male population. Our results indicate an extended male flight distance for both species. Though the range of queen dispersal remains to be studied, the effective size (Ne) of bumblebees is increased by extended male mating flight ranges (Am) exceeding worker foraging distance by factor 1.66 (Am = 69.75 km2) and 1.74 (Am = 13.41 km2), B. terrestris and B. lapidarius, respectively. Thus this behaviour may counteract genetic deprivation and its effects. All populations were genetically highly diverse and showed no signs of inbreeding. We discuss the implications of our findings in context of bumblebee population dynamics and conservation. We also highlight the effects and benefits of sampling both workers and males for population genetic studies.