Genetics 11
Origins of the black bee
In his now classic book 'Biogeography and Taxonomy of Honeybees' published in 1988 Prof. Friedrich Ruttner produced a synopsis of all available data on the evolution, morphometric analysis, behaviour, taxonomy, and ecological data of the known geographical variants of Apis mellifera. Ruttner identified 24 sub-species
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4 Groups for Apis mellifera were identified based on their geographical distribution:
A Africa
O Orient: Near East
C Central Mediterranean
M West and North Europe
Ruttner originally proposed the existence of Groups A, C, and M in 1978 and only in 1988 was a fourth branch O proposed.

The distribution of these species is shown on the adjacent map.
Ruttner proposed that north-east Africa was the centre of dispersion of these 4 groups. And that the M branch colonized Europe through the Straights of Gibraltar. Ruttner based his hypothesis purely on morphometric analysis before the various DNA methods of identification were introduced.

It is perhaps remarkable how close Ruttner's findings are to those using SNP analysis.
distribution map apis mellifera groups
Rutter's Book
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