3 Apis mellifera capensis

Apis mellifera capensis

name = Cape honey bee
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Hymenoptera
familia = Apidae
genus = "Apis"
species = "mellifera"
subspecies = "A. m. capensis"
trinomial = "Apis mellifera capensis"
trinomial_authority = Eschscholtz, 1822

"Apis mellifera capensis", the Cape honey bee or Cape bee is a southern South African sub-species of the Western honey bee.Cape bee workers are uniquely able to lay diploid, female eggs, by means of thelytoky, whereas workers of other honey bee subspecies (and, in fact, unmated females of virtually all other eusocial insects) are able to lay only haploid, male eggs.

The movement by beekeepers of Cape honey bees into northern South Africa, where they do not naturally occur, has created a problem for the region's indigenous populations of "A. m. scutellata". If a female worker from a Cape honey bee colony enters a colony of "A. m. scutellata", she is not attacked, partly due to her resemblance to the African bee queen. Now independent from her own colony, she may begin laying eggs, and since "A.m. capensis" workers are capable of parthenogenetic reproduction, they will hatch as "clones" of herself, which will also lay eggs. As a result the parasitic "A. m. capensis" workers increase in number within a host colony. This leads to the death of the host colony on which they depend. An important factor causing the death of a colony seems to be the dwindling numbers of "A. m. scutellata" workers that perform foraging duties ("A. m. capensis" workers are greatly under-represented in the foraging force of an an infected colony) owing to death of the queen, and, before queen death, competition for egg laying between "A. m. capensis" workers and the queen. When the colony dies, the "capensis" females will seek out a new host colony. [ [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v415/n6868/full/415163a.html] Martin, S.J. Beekman, M., Wossler, T.C., Ratnieks, F.L.W. (2002) Parasitic Cape honeybee workers, "Apis mellifera capensis", evade policing. "Nature" 415, 163-165 doi:10.1038/415163a]


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