By Friedrich Ruttner
Honeybees are as small as flies or as huge as hornets, nesting in nar row cavities of timber and rocks or within the open on huge limbs of bushes 30 m above floor. They ensue in tropical zones and within the forests of the Ural mountains, they continue to exist seven months of iciness or even longer classes of drought and warmth. traditionally, they lived via a prolonged time of stagnation within the tropics from the mid-Tertiary, yet then skilled an explosive evolution throughout the Pleistocene, re sulting within the conquest of big new territories and the starting place of 2 dozen subspecies in Apis mellifera. This immense geographic and ecologic diversification of the genus Apis was once followed by means of a wealthy morphological edition, much less at the point of species than on the lowest rank, the subspecies point. edition being solely of a quantitative variety at this primary step of speciation, tradi tional descriptive equipment of systematics proved to be unsatisfactory, and honeybee taxonomy eventually ended up in a complicated multitude of inadequately defined devices. powerful equipment of morphometric-sta tistical research of honeybee popUlations, headquartered on constrained parts, were constructed over the last many years. basically the numerical characterization of the populations, including the outline of habit, exhibits the real geographic variability and should finish present generalizations and handy stereotypes.
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Additional resources for Biogeography and Taxonomy of Honeybees
01. As a prime example a fairly complete analysis of the Mdh pattern of the Western Mediterranean is available, revealing a striking conformity with the morphometric results (Fig. 8): transitions from intermissa to sicula and iberica; hybridization of ligustica with mellifera and sicula; close relation of iberica-mellifera and ligustica-carnica. Another possible source of biochemical variation are hydrocarbons in the surface cuticular waxes. 8 Distribution of Mdh-1 alleles in the western Mediterranean.
In the A. mel/ifera races of the temperate zone a further important step in evolution took place: the faculty to survive periods of cold without any flight activity for several months. This is not achieved by cavity nesting, temperature regulation, and food storage alone, characteristics also of tropical mel/ifera races. Additionally, the physiologically spezialized type of "winter bees" had to evolve, further formation of a winter cluster, long brood stop close to the end of the winter, blocking of flight activity by cold alone (irrespective of light intensity), a certain resistance to nosema disease etc.
V. 9 vs. 9; Eskov 1976). 1973; Brandes 1984). In a number of cases the adaptive significance of behavioral pecularities is evident. This occurs in consequence of long-lasting evolutionary selection: European strains have retained their low swarming rate in tropical S America through centuries, although this renders them completely inferior in fitness, as was shown when the Africanized bee appeared as competitor. Transferred colonies usually maintain all their inherited behavioral inventory and all reports on "acclimatization" refer to nothing else but hybridization.
Biogeography and Taxonomy of Honeybees by Friedrich Ruttner