Gentle Africanized bees on an oceanic island
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Volume 5, Issue 7, pages 746–756, November 2012
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How to Cite
Rivera-Marchand, B., Oskay, D. and Giray, T. (2012), Gentle Africanized bees on an oceanic island. Evolutionary Applications, 5: 746–756. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2012.00252.x
- Issue published online: 30 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012
- Received: 3 January 2012 Accepted: 20 January 2012
- Africanized honeybee;
- Apis mellifera ;
Oceanic islands have reduced resources and natural enemies and potentially affect life history traits of arriving organisms. Among the most spectacular invasions in the Western hemisphere is that of the Africanized honeybee. We hypothesized that in the oceanic island Puerto Rico, Africanized bees will exhibit differences from the mainland population such as for defensiveness and other linked traits. We evaluated the extent of Africanization through three typical Africanized traits: wing size, defensive behavior, and resistance to Varroa destructor mites. All sampled colonies were Africanized by maternal descent, with over 65% presence of European alleles at the S-3 nuclear locus. In two assays evaluating defense, Puerto Rican bees showed low defensiveness similar to European bees. In morphology and resistance to mites, Africanized bees from Puerto Rico are similar to other Africanized bees. In behavioral assays on mechanisms of resistance to Varroa, we directly observed that Puerto Rican Africanized bees groomed-off and bit the mites as been observed in other studies. In no other location, Africanized bees have reduced defensiveness while retaining typical traits such as wing size and mite resistance. This mosaic of traits that has resulted during the invasion of an oceanic island has implications for behavior, evolution, and agriculture.