Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 35, Number 3, May-June 2003
Page(s) 339 - 350
Genet. Sel. Evol. 35 (2003) 339-350
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2003012

Genetic structure of Balearic honeybee populations based on microsatellite polymorphism

Pilar De la Rúaa, José Galiána, José Serranoa and Robin F.A. Moritzb

a  Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Apdo. 4021, Universidad de Murcia, 30071 Murcia, Spain
b  Institute of Zoology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Kröllwitzer Str. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany

(Received 2 January 2002; accepted 21 November 2002)

The genetic variation of honeybee colonies collected in 22 localities on the Balearic Islands (Spain) was analysed using eight polymorphic microsatellite loci. Previous studies have demonstrated that these colonies belong either to the African or west European evolutionary lineages. These populations display low variability estimated from both the number of alleles and heterozygosity values, as expected for the honeybee island populations. Although genetic differentiation within the islands is low, significant heterozygote deficiency is present, indicating a subpopulation genetic structure. According to the genetic differentiation test, the honeybee populations of the Balearic Islands cluster into two groups: Gimnesias (Mallorca and Menorca) and Pitiusas (Ibiza and Formentera), which agrees with the biogeography postulated for this archipelago. The phylogenetic analysis suggests an Iberian origin of the Balearic honeybees, thus confirming the postulated evolutionary scenario for Apis mellifera in the Mediterranean basin. The microsatellite data from Formentera, Ibiza and Menorca show that ancestral populations are threatened by queen importations, indicating that adequate conservation measures should be developed for protecting Balearic bees.

Key words: honeybee / microsatellites / population structure / genetic diversity / Balearic Islands

Correspondence and reprints: Pilar De la Rúa

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003