Morphometric Divergence of Anatolian Honeybees through Loss of Original Traits: A Dangerous Outcome of Turkish Apiculture

Meral Kekeçoğlu

Abstract


Five honeybee subspecies exist naturally in Anatolia. Unfortunately, owing largely to migratory beekeeping and lack of control mechanisms against requeening, the native honey bee subspecies located in Anatolia are facing extinction. Beekeeping activities, especially migratory beekeeping jeopardizes the presence of the naturally evolved indigenous subspecies of Anatolia. The present study examined morphological deformation in three Apis mellifera (L.) subspecies (A. m. caucasica, A. m. carnica, A. m. syriaca) and two ecotypes of A. m. anatoliaca (Muğla and Yığılca) that have been kept all together in a long-term breeding program at the common apiary. Worker bee samples representing each honeybee subspecies and ecotype were collected from the common apiary, and also from their original locations. To demonstrate the potential hybridization effect on variations of the Anatolian native honeybee subspecies and ecotypes, the geometric morphometric method was applied on the samples of honeybees that had been kept together in the same apiary since 2008. The findings showed that the honeybee population of the common apiary and those from their native settings formed two different configurations on the scatter plots. Hybridization and promiscuous mating among the different honeybee races maintained in the common apiary may have led to the loss of a valuable combination of morphometric traits. Hence, there is an urgent need for an active monitoring system and a ban on queen trading and migratory practices as well as for periodic testing of registered apiaries to identify ongoing variations in the gene pool.

Keywords


Honeybee biodiversity, migratory beekeeping, geometric morphometric

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v65i2.1895

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