Apis mellifera iberiensis
|Apis mellifera iberiensis|
|Subspecies:||A. m. iberiensis|
|Apis mellifera iberiensis
Engel, 1999 
Apis mellifera iberiensis are very vigorous and active at temperatures where other subspecies of bees are not leaving the hive, supporting long, cold winters. They have a length of the forewings with an average of 9.226 mm and 3.098 mm  while the width of the subspecies Apis mellifera mellifera is 9.381 mm and 3.0293 mm respectively. The first description of this bee of the Iberian Peninsula was published in the magazine Bee World, made by B. Adam. F. Ruttner described it in his book "Biogeography and Taxonomy of Honeybees." in base to the description of B. Adam, but like several authors prior to him (e.g., Goetze, 1964) erroneously equated this bee with the subspecies proposed by Skorikov (1929) as Apis mellifera iberica (Skorikov, however, proposed the name for a subspecies occurring in the Caucasus and based the name on the ancient Greco-Roman designation for the Georgian Kingdom, Caucasian Iberians, existing there in antiquity). Thus, the name as employed by Ruttner was an error, leaving Apis mellifera iberiensis as the only valid name for this race of honey bees. B.Adam collect their views on a trip he made in 1959 by Spain and Portugal.
A. m. iberiensis has the body size of European subspecies with forewings narrower and wider abdomen. It is mostly dark brown to jet-black. The darkness is accentuated by the low tomentum and low hairiness. The queens are black almost uniform in color. They are prolific and with high fertility controlled by environmental conditions. The closing membrane of the cells is watery, the breeding is sensitive to some diseases.
They do not typically generate multiple queens (polygyny) in any given hive at swarming time. Their movements are fast and rather nervous. They exhibit quick defensive reaction, nervousness, and a propensity to swarm. They do make abundant use of propolis. One or two sentry bees are always present at the entrance of the hive. If the colony is disturbed, the sentries raise an persistent alarm; the hive may attack anything that seems threatening for at least 24 hours.
The name often applied to this race is A.m.iberica, an epithet originally proposed by Skorikov in his 1929 monograph on honey bees. Authors subsequent to Skorikov assumed in error that the iberica referred to the Iberian Peninsula and thereby quickly adopted the name for the race of bees living in Spain and bordering areas. However, the name iberica was based on a Caucasian race of honey bees, the epithet referring to the Greco-Roman designation for the Georgian Kingdom established in that region in antiquity. The true A. m. iberica of Skorikov has nothing to do with the western Mediterranean race of bees, and under the rules of nomenclature the name iberica is not valid for this lineage of honey bees. The corrected and valid name for the race is Apis mellifera iberiensis.
In a comparative study of A.m.iberiensis and five others sub-species of Apis mellifera including A.m.intermissa, A. m. monticola, A. m. scutellata, A. m. adansonii and A. m. capensis  (Smith,Palopoli,Taylor,Garnery,Cornuet,Solignac,Brown 1991) cleavage maps obtained through the use of restriction enzyme  showed the Spanish Honey bee contains mtDNA similar to intermissa and also mellifera. Additionally A.m.intermissa belongs to a group shown by experiment to have similar mtD.N.A (mitochondrian D.N.A.),this including monticola, scuttelata,andansonii and capensis 
In Spanish bee populations, mtDNA haplotypes of African bee strains were found to be frequently present (Smith 1991, Garnery et al 1995) (Cornuet et al 1975,1978, 1982, 1988; Ruttner 1988;Cornuet and Fresnaye 1989;Orante-Bermejos and Garcia-Fernandez 1995; Hepburn and Radloff 1996). Migrating bee populations formed the original colonies of bee in western Europe, landing to eventually populate the continent from Africa across the Straits of Gibraltar.
The Iberian Peninsula is an area of hybridization between the north of Africa and Europe, Apis mellifera mellifera, is localized in the northern, Apis mellifera intermissa, and Apis mellifera iberiensis are naturally present too.
Presents six haplotypes different, five of them correspond to an evolutionary lineage from Africa and one from West Europa. From this, infer the hybrid nature of this subspecies, which has a predominant influence in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, with a North African component that is gradually replaced towards the north, through the lineage of Apis mellifera mellifera.
The genetic variability of the microsatellite of the chromosomes, is similar to that of African populations in the number of alleles detected and the values of genetic diversity. This suggests the genetic relationship between populations of Andalusia and North Africa.
Studied be populations of Portugal there were no major differences between different geographical locations. Morphometric studies of Apis mellifera iberiensis populations in Asturias and northern Iberian Peninsula indicated that the Cantabrian Mountains produces insulation allowing for differences between populations.
The results of microsatellites vary markedly between provinces. In Cadiz haplotype homogeneity contrasts with the microsatellite variability, suggesting the occurrence of recent phenomena of introgression from populations with African haplotypes, whose origin is indeterminate.
Western honey bees differentiated into geographic subspecies as they spread from Asia into Europe and Africa. There are currently 28 recognized subspecies of Apis mellifera based largely on these geographic variations. All subspecies are cross fertile. Geographic isolation led to numerous local adaptations as this species spread after the last ice age. These adaptations include brood cycles synchronized with the bloom period of local flora, forming a winter cluster in colder climates, migratory swarming in Africa, enhanced foraging behavior in desert areas, and numerous other inherited traits.
The Western honey bee is native to the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. As of the early 1500s, the Apis mellifera iberiensis was introduced to the Americas, with subsequent introductions of other European subspecies three centuries later. Since then, they have spread throughout the Americas. The 28 subspecies can be assigned to one of four major branches based on work by Ruttner and subsequently confirmed by analysis of mitochondrial DNA. African subspecies are assigned to branch A, northwest European subspecies to branch M, southwest European subspecies to branch C, and Mideast subspecies to branch O. The subspecies are grouped and listed.
The Western honey bee is the third insect, to have its genome mapped. The genome is unusual in having very few transposons. According to the scientists who analysed its genetic code, the western honey bee originated in Africa and spread to Europe in two ancient migrations. They have also discovered that the number of genes in the honey bees related to smell outnumber those for taste. The genome sequence revealed several groups of genes, particularly the genes related to circadian rhythms, were closer to vertebrates than other insects. Genes related to enzymes that control other genes were also vertebrate-like.
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