Diversity and distribution status of the honeybee apis mellifera (l) taxa in selected areas of Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
In the recent years the beekeeping experts have been facing difficulty in distinguishing the Tanzanian honeybee subspecies in their underlying ecological habitats leading to poor management strategies. The present study investigated Tanzanian honeybees using morphometric, molecular and indigenous knowledge techniques to distinguish three honeybee subspecies; Apis mellifera litorea, A. m. scutellata and A. m. monticola in their distinct ecological habitats. The study was conducted in three ecological habitats namely coastal, savannah and mount Meru forest. Morphometric analysis discovered weak increase of honeybee size with altitude and a remarkable overlapping of the subspecies in their habitats showing that the subspecies co-exist and interbreed. The analysis of mtDNA COI-COII intergenic region indicated high genetic diversity at a range of 0.937 to 1 within and among the subspecies, indicating that the population is stable. The presence of private haplotypes implied the uniqueness of different subspecies in their ecological habitats while haplotype sharing indicated the presence of gene flow among honeybee populations. The analysis of molecular variance, AMOVA (FST = -0.011 P= 0.835) and nearest-neighbour (Snn) statistic (Snn = 0.547, P = 0.097) showed lack of genetic differentiation among sampled subspecies but high variance within them. Molecular study revealed expansion of honeybees population size (θ =1.781 to θ1 = 99,999) indicating a rapid population expansion. The results from the analysis of the indigenous knowledge indicated that majority of the respondents recognized two ‘groups’ of honeybees. Further taxonomic studies are required to describe the varying groups within the subspecies using advanced morphometric models and genetic markers.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QL568.A6T34L47)
Honeybee, Tanzania
Lesio, N. P. (2017) Diversity and distribution status of the honeybee apis mellifera (l) taxa in selected areas of Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam