Genetic characterization of the bees of Kangaroo Island, South Australia

publication date: Dec 1, 2010
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 31 (3-4) pp. 141-148
December 1992
Article Title

Genetic characterization of the bees of Kangaroo Island, South Australia


Benjamin P Oloroyd; Walter S Shepparsd; J Anthony Stelzer


On Kangaroo Island, South Australia, an introduced population of Apis mellifera ligustica has reputedly not hybridized with other A. mellifera subspecies due to isolation. Bees were collected from each of 24 Kangaroo Island colonies to confirm their subspecies. Electromorph relative frequencies for the Kangaroo Island population were: malate dehydrogenase enzyme system, Mdh65 =0.13, Mdh80 =0.11 and Mdh100 = 0.76; esterase system, Est100 = 0.95, and Est130 =0.05. Such frequencies are similar to A. m. ligustica populations from southern Italy, but dissimilar to populations from northern Italy. Morphology of Kangaroo Island bees is similar to A. m. Iigustica reference specimens. Mitochondrial DNA restriction mapping suggested that the Kangaroo Island population is of A. m. mellifera origin. It is concluded that available reference material is inadequate to conclusively determine the racial origin of the Kangaroo Island population, but that recent hybridization has not occurred.


Apis mellifera Iigustica, Apis mellifera mellifera, honey bees, allozymes, esterases, malate dehydrogenase, mitochondrial DNA, restriction mapping, population genetics, hybridization, Australia

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