Mating frequency and genetic colony structure of the neotropical bumblebee Bombus wilmattae (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
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So far, nearly all studies concerning the mating frequency of bumblebees have been conducted with temperate species, showing that single mating seems to be the predominant pattern in bumblebees. Studies involving tropical species, however, are still scarce. Here, we determined the mating frequency of queens of the tropical bumblebee species, Bombus wilmattae by using microsatellite genotyping based on a sample of nine colonies from Chiapas, Southern Mexico. A total of 204 workers were genotyped with microsatellite markers to infer the queen genotype and the number of males with which each queen had mated. Two of the nine queens were doubly mated and seven singly mated. In the colonies with the double-mated queens, the distribution of the patrilines was not even, resulting in effective mating frequencies of 1.34 and 1.70, respectively, and an average relatedness of g = 0.58 ± 0.06.
KeywordsBombus wilmattae bumblebees eusocial Hymenoptera mating frequency microsatellites
We would like to thank Petra Leibe for her assistance in the lab and Daniel Sánchez Guillén for his help and support during the sampling in Chiapas (Mexico). This study was funded by the Helmholtz Interdisciplinary Graduate School for Environmental Research (HIGRADE) and the Mexican–European FONCICYT 94293 grant “MUTUAL—Mutualisms with bees in tropical landscapes: risks and rescue for biodiversity and crop production” which are acknowledged here.
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