Male flight distance and population substructure in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris
Article first published online: 15 OCT 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 78, Issue 1, pages 247–252, January 2009
How to Cite
Kraus, F. B., Wolf, S. and Moritz, R. F. A. (2009), Male flight distance and population substructure in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78: 247–252. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01479.x
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 15 OCT 2008
- Received 12 April 2007; accepted 28 August 2008; Handling Associate Editor: Stuary Piertney
- Bombus terrestris;
- flight distance;
- population structure;
- social insects
- 1Bumblebees are important pollinators in natural as well as agricultural ecosystems. Estimates of foraging range, population size and genetic population structure so far have been based on worker samples alone. Here we include both males and workers in a population genetic analysis to infer the contribution of males to these important ecological parameters.
- 2The population genetic (microsatellite) analyses of Bombus terrestris L. populations on the island of Cabrera (Spain) and Halle (Germany) revealed high heterozygosities (0·60 ± 0·08 to 0·77 ± 0·13) and neither a deviation from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium nor linkage disequilibrium.
- 3We detected five colonies (census population size) for the island population and 27 to 68 for the German mainland population. The genetic effective population sizes were Ne = 7·5 for the island and 40·5 to 102 for the mainland population respectively.
- 4There was a significant genetic subdifferentiation between the male and the worker population samples, suggesting that males originated from different and/or more distant colonies than workers.
- 5Based on the colony numbers, we estimated the flight range of males, which ranged from 2·6 km to 9·9 km, much further than worker flight ranges. Bumblebee-mediated pollen flow will therefore be much further than expected based on the foraging range of workers alone if males also contribute to pollination.