Oral Session # 7: Populations and Genetics.
Presiding: E Sotka
Monday, August 4. 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM, SITCC Meeting Room 106.

Genetic characterization of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) drone congregation areas above the forest canopy in southwest France.

Strange, James*,1, Garnery, Lionel 2, Sheppard, Walter1, 1 Department of Entomology, Pullman, WA, USA2 CNRS Laboratoire Populations Genetiques et Evolution, Gif-sur-Yvette, Ile-de-France, France

ABSTRACT- The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) mates in spatially and temporally defined areas remote from the colony. Male honey bees gather in these areas (drone congregation areas or DCAs) and fly about waiting for a virgin queen bee to enter the DCA. Because these areas can occur up to 30 meters above the ground, they have been difficult to study. In fact, previous studies have focused primarily on DCAs that occur at very accessible locations (fields or forest clearings) and the existence of A. mellifera mating areas above forest canopies has been largely unknown and, therefore, ignored . Here we report the presence of two DCAs located above dense pine forest canopy in southwest France and contrast the genetic composition of these mating sites with nearby DCAs which occur in fields and forest clearings. Genetic analysis of drone honey bees trapped at these sites using mitochondrial DNA shows that honey bees from two subspecies lineages (one native and one introduced) utilize these sites. Preliminary results show a partial temporal partitioning of the DCAs between the two groups. Implications for past and future studies are discussed.

Key words: reproductive ecology, , population genetics, conservation genetics