Geographic Distribution of Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera) Reflects Niche Characteristics of Ancestral African Subspecies


The introduction of the Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata) in the New World is reported as one of the most successful exotic species invasion ever known. Here, we analyzed this invasion process through niche modeling approach, comparing the performance of modeling A. m. scutellata with other African subspecies distributions, projected into the New World. We applied the Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Production (GARP) on a dataset of the original distribution of the subspecies in Africa. Only data from A. m. scutellata and A. m. jemenitica generated projected distributions in the Americas that resemble closely the current distribution of Africanized bees. These results suggest that the current distribution of Africanized honeybees in the New World to a great extent reflects niche characteristics from the subspecies that was originally introduced, reflecting a niche conservatism process.

In Natureza & Conservação