Genetic divergence between Melipona quadrifasciata Lepeletier (Hymenoptera, Apidae) populations


Genet. Mol. Biol.




Melipona quadrifasciata is a stingless bee widely found throughout the Brazilian territory, with two recognized subspecies, M. quadrifasciata anthidioides, that exhibits interrupted metasomal stripes, and M. quadrifasciata quadrifasciata, with continuous metasomal stripes. This study aimed to estimate the genetic variability of these subspecies. For this purpose, 127 colonies from 15 Brazilian localities were analyzed, using nine species-specific microsatellite primers. At these loci, the number of alleles ranged from three to 15 (mean: 7.2), and the observed heterozygosity (Ho) ranged from 0.03-0.21, while the expected heterozygosity (He) ranged from 0.23-0.47. The genetic distances among populations ranged from 0.03-0.45. The F ST multilocus value (0.23) indicated that the populations sampled were structured, and the clustering analysis showed the formation of two subgroups and two more distant populations. The first group contained the subspecies M. quadrifasciata quadrifasciata, and the other, the subspecies M. quadrifasciata anthidioides and the two M. quadrifasciata populations with continuous metasomal stripes from northern Minas Gerais. These results confirmed that the yellow metasomal stripes alone are not a good means for correctly identifying the different subspecies of M. quadrifasciata.

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