The population genetics of two orchid bees suggests high dispersal, low diploid male production and only an effect of island isolation in lowering genetic diversity
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Orchid bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Euglossini) are important pollinators of many plant families in Neotropical forests, habitats that have become increasingly degraded and fragmented by agricultural practices. To understand the extent to which loss of natural habitat and isolation has affected the genetic diversity and diploid male production (DMP) of two orchid bee species, Euglossa dilemma and Euglossa viridissima, we collected and genotyped 1686 males at five microsatellite loci and tested for differences in allelic richness, heterozygosity and DMP across three different types of land use (natural, agricultural and urban) and between mainland and island populations in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. We also investigated the impact of land use and geographic isolation on gene flow. Euglossa dilemma and E. viridissima seemed to be particularly resilient to loss of natural habitat; in locations with human impact, we did not find reduced genetic diversity, and populations generally showed very little population genetic structure. Only on islands did E. dilemma show significantly reduced genetic diversity. Even after accounting for putative null alleles, DMP was very low (0.2–1.3%) across all sampling sites, including on islands. We therefore suggest that DMP is an insensitive measure of inbreeding and population decline in our two study species.
KeywordsEffective population size Euglossa Gene flow Habitat fragmentation Inbreeding Mexico Yucatan Peninsula
We thank the editors and referees for comments that helped improve the manuscript, Ramirez Pech, Rubén Medina and Tony Gonzalez for collecting the male individuals used in this study and Petra Leibe and Rita Radzeviciute for their assistance in the laboratory. We thank CONACyT-EU Project FONCICyT 94293 (Mutualismos y abejas en paisajes tropicales) for funding.
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