Genetic and phenotypic differentiation in endemic Scaptotrigona hellwegeri (Apidae: Meliponini): implications for the conservation of stingless bee populations in contrasting environments
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Insect Conservation and Diversity © 2011 The Royal Entomological Society
Insect Conservation and Diversity
Volume 5, Issue 6, pages 433–443, November 2012
How to Cite
QUEZADA-EUÁN, J. J. G., MAY-ITZÁ, W. d. J., RINCÓN, M., DE LA RÚA, P. and PAXTON, R. J. (2012), Genetic and phenotypic differentiation in endemic Scaptotrigona hellwegeri (Apidae: Meliponini): implications for the conservation of stingless bee populations in contrasting environments. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 5: 433–443. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2011.00179.x
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2011
- Accepted 29 October 2011 First published online 16 December 2011 Editor: Jacobus Boomsma Associate editor: Laurence Packer
- mitochondrial DNA;
- population differentiation;
- Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Abstract. 1. The western forests of Mexico are rich in species of stingless bee, possibly a consequence of the diverse habitats found across different altitudes of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) and the Pacific coast (PAC).
2. Scaptotrigona hellwegeri is an example of a stingless bee species found across the TMVB and PAC. It is currently considered a single species. Its TMVB populations have become rare and rapidly impacted by human-modified habitats. Translocation of S. hellwegeri colonies from the PAC tropical lowlands to TMVB subtropical highlands has been considered, as colonies at PAC are more abundant and even used in stingless beekeeping.
3. Morphometric analyses of meristic characters plus genetic analysis at microsatellite loci and sequencing of the cox1 region of mtDNA were used to evaluate phenotypic and genetic differentiation in S. hellwegeri from TMVB and PAC.
4. Significant morphometric differences were detected between S. hellwegeri from TMVB and PAC. Corrected nuclear multilocus F′ST was 0.592 (P < 0.01), supporting the view that TMVB and PAC populations are markedly genetically differentiated. A 573 bp sequence of the cox1 region of mtDNA showed six sites of divergence, with sequence divergence between PAC and TMVB populations of 1.1%.
5. Our morphometric and genetic results make evident that S. hellwegeri from TMVB and PAC are significantly differentiated and represent two genetic lineages. An immediate recommendation is to restrict the movement of colonies from the lowland PAC regions to TMVB, where colonies are currently scarce.