Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 17–26

Polyandry in the genus Apis, particularly Apis andreniformis

  • B. P. Oldroyd
  • Morag J. Clifton
  • Siriwat Wongsiri
  • Thomas E. Rinderer
  • H. Allen Sylvester
  • Ross H. Crozier

Abstract

Using four polymorphic microsatellite loci, we found that four Apis andreniformis queens collected in Thailand each mated at least 10–20 times, producing an average relatedness, gww, of workers of 0.30 ± 0.007, and an average effective number of matings of 9.1 ± 2.2. The degrees of polyandry and intra-colonial genetic relatedness in A. andreniformis are similar to those in A. mellifera, slightly more than in A. florea, and up to 6 times less than in A. dorsata. We argue that while presently favoured hypotheses for the evolution of polyandry in monogynous social insects may adequately explain the evolution of up to five or six matings, they are inadequate to explain the extreme polyandry (10–60 matings) observed in Apis. One alternative possibility is that colony fitness is a non-additive function of the fitness of individual subfamilies. Such behavioral over-dominance may mean that queen fitness is increased by high levels of polyandry, which increase the probability of desirable combinations of worker genotypes occurring in one colony. The special attributes of honey bees which may lead to behavioral over-dominance include colony aggregation (which may increase the incidence of disease), and frequent long-distance migration.

Key words Polyandry Multiple mating Apis Behavioral dominance Microsatellites 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. P. Oldroyd
    • 1
  • Morag J. Clifton
    • 1
  • Siriwat Wongsiri
    • 2
  • Thomas E. Rinderer
    • 3
  • H. Allen Sylvester
    • 3
  • Ross H. Crozier
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Macleay Building A12, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, AustraliaAU
  2. 2.Bee Biology Research Unit, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, ThailandTH
  3. 3.Honey-Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 1157 Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70820, USAUS
  4. 4.School of Genetics and Human Variation, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, AustraliaAU

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