Open Access Repository

Invasion success of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, despite a drastic genetic bottleneck


Downloads per month over past year

Schmid-Hempel, P, Schmid-Hempel, R, Brunner, PC, Seeman, OD and Allen, GR 2007 , 'Invasion success of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, despite a drastic genetic bottleneck' , Heredity, vol. 99 , pp. 414-422 , doi: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6801017.

[img] PDF
4262.pdf | Request a copy
Full text restricted


In early 1992, the European bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, was first seen in Tasmania and currently has spread to most of the island. Here, we report on the genetic structure, using micro-satellites, of the invading population from samples collected in the years 1998–2000, a few years after the first sighting of the species in its new area. The data show that the Tasmanian population has a very low genetic diversity, with less than half of the allelic richness (Richness=2.89 alleles; Hexp=0.591) and lower levels of heterozygosity as compared to populations in New Zealand (4.24 alleles; Hexp=0.729) and Europe (5.08 alleles; Hexp=0.826). In addition, the genetic data suggest that the invasion must have happened once, probably around late 1991, and was the result of very few, perhaps only two, individuals arriving in Tasmania. Furthermore, these founders came from the New Zealand population. Today, the population in the south of Tasmania seems to act as a source population from which individuals migrate into other parts of the state. A similar source–sink structure seems also the case for New Zealand. The data show that B. terrestris is a highly invasive species capable of establishing itself even after a dramatic genetic bottleneck. B. terrestris may be an invasive species due to the haplo–diploid sex determination system, which exposes recessive, deleterious mutations to selection. Offspring of such purged lines may then be able to tolerate high levels of inbreeding.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Schmid-Hempel, P and Schmid-Hempel, R and Brunner, PC and Seeman, OD and Allen, GR
Keywords: invasion, genetics, founder, population structure, Tasmania, Bombus terrestris
Journal or Publication Title: Heredity
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0018-067X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6801017
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page