Discrimination of dwarf honey bee (Apis florea, Fabricius 1876) populations in Iran using elliptic Fourier wing cell shape analysis

We investigated cell shape differentiation among Apis florea populations distributed in four states (Hormuzgan-Bushehr-Khuzestan-Ilam states) of Iran using elliptic Fourier analysis (EFA - outline-based geometric morphometric analysis) on all forewing cells. Outline-based analysis was performed on all closed cells on the forewings of 114 A. florea colonies from 13 locations in Iran. According to the statistical analysis of each cell shape, the most efficient cells to discriminate populations were 2nd cubital, 3rd submarginal and marginal cells. Discriminant Function Analysis of Fourier coefficients (FCs) for each cell resulted in two clusters: southern A. florea populations from lower latitude (Hormuzgan state); and the rest of the populations from higher latitude (Ilam, Khuzestan, Bushehr state) with different differential discrimination values (1st submarginal cell = 75.4%, 2nd submarginal cell = 86.0%, 1st medial cell and 2nd medial cell = 86.8%, marginal cell = 88.6%, 3rd submarginal cell = 90.4%, 2nd cubital cell = 92.1%). This study showed that EFA has been functional and effective for distinguishing A. florea populations based on the wing cell shapes. The outline-based geometric morphometric applied in our study has been as successful as the other morphometric approaches such as standard morphometric and landmark-based geometric morphometric in previous studies.