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Invasion of the dwarf honeybee Apis florea into the near East

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The dwarf honeybee, Apis florae, is an open nesting honeybee typical to Southern Asia. In the past decades it has been accidentally introduced by man to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where the species established sustainable and expanding populations. Recently it has also been introduced to Aqaba and Eilat, where it has also established expanding populations. We here study the genetic structure of this invasive population with nine microsatellite DNA markers to reconstruct the invasion history. The population shows indications of an extreme bottleneck suggesting that it established itself very recently and may have originated from a single introduced colony only. The impact of the species for both apiculture and conservation of biodiversity is discussed.

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We thank Petra Leibe for superb technical assistance with the genotyping. This project was supported by the European Commission through the Integrated Project ALARM (Assessing LArge scale environmental Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods, EU Contract No.: 506675) and the Strategic Research Project BEE SHOP (Contract No.: FOOD-CT-2006-022568). The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Mo 373/24) and the National Centre for Agriculture and Extension, Jordan financially supported the sampling activities. We very much appreciate the most constructive comments by an anonymous referee, which greatly improved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Robin F. A. Moritz.

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Moritz, R.F.A., Haddad, N., Bataieneh, A. et al. Invasion of the dwarf honeybee Apis florea into the near East. Biol Invasions 12, 1093–1099 (2010).

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