Cubital index

cubital index

Part of fore wing of honey bee worker used for measurements of cubital index. (scale bar = 1 mm)


The cubital index was used, mainly by beekeepers, to discriminate honey bee subspecies. The discrimination using cubital index is relatively imprecise because it is based on measurements of only two distances [1][2]. More precise methods of subspecies discrimination require large number of measurements [3][4].
Selection for high cubital index by A. m. carnica breeders in Germany lead to unusually high cubital index in commercially available breeding lines of this subspecies [2]. There are various methods of measuring cubital index [5].

There are many conflicting definitions of cubital index. Probably this term was used for the first time by Alpatov [6]. Cubital index according to Alpatov (CIAlpatov) is expressed in percent:
CIAlpatov = 100 dAB/dBC
where:
dAB - distance between points A and B
dBC - distance between points B and C

Cubital index according to Goetze (CIGoetze1) [7] is:
CIGoetze1 = dbC/dAb
where:
dbC - distance between points b and C
dAb - distance between points A and b

Goetze [7] introduced also another variation of this index called "realer Cubital Index" (CIGoetze2):
CIGoetze2 = dBC/dAB

The last definition was generally accepted in Western Europe, while in Eastern Europe definition of Alpatov was used.
Conversion of the two variation of the cubital index:
CIAlpatov = 100/CIGoetze
CIGoetze = 100/CIAlpatov

In book of Ruttner [3] (an important source of information about honey bee measurements) there is an error in description of cubital index - in figure 4.7 [3] - points B and C are swapped.

Cubital index of workers from species of genus Apis:

  • A. cerana 3.98 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 1.1) [3], 2.63 - 7.86 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 9.5) [3]
  • A. dorsata 7.25 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 1.1) [3]
  • A. florea 2.82 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 1.1) [3]
  • A. mellifera 1.53 - 3.60 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 4.1) [3].

Cubital index ±SD of workers from subspecies of A. mellifera:

  • A. m. adami 1.89±0.18 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. adansonii 2.39±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. armeniaca 2.61±0.42 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. anatoliaca 2.24±0.18 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. capensis 2.33±0.34 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. carnica 2.59±0.42 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.1), 2.51 - 2.86 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.2) [3], 2.94 in some commercial breeding lines [2].
  • A. m. caucasica 2.16±0.31 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. cecropia 3.11±0.57 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.1) [3]
  • A. m. cypria 2.72±0.36 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. iberiensis 1.84±0.27 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 13.1) [3]
  • A. m. intermissa 2.33±0.36 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 13.1) [3], 2.25±0.10 [8]
  • A. m. lamarckii 2.37±0.37 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. ligustica 2.55±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.1) [3], 2.54±0.15 [8]
  • A. m. litorea 2.25±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. macedonica 2.59±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.1) [3]
  • A. m. mellifera 1.84±0.28 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 13.1) [3]
  • A. m. meda 2.56±0.72 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. monticola 2.35±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. ruttneri 2.41±0.24 [8]
  • A. m. sahariensis 2.62±0.41 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 13.1) [3]
  • A. m. scutellata 2.52±0.46 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. siciliana 2.47±0.42 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 14.1) [3], 2.42±0.24 [8]
  • A. m. simensis 2.24±0.20 (Meixner et al. 2011, Tab. 3) [9]
  • A. m. syriaca 2.28±0.37 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.1) [3]
  • A. m. unicolor 2.79±0.42 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2) [3]
  • A. m. jemenitica 2.20±0.40 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.2), 2.20 - 2.45 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 12.3) [3]

Cubital index differs between queens, workers and drones. In honey bee drones cubital index ranges from 1.38 to 1.93 (Ruttner 1988, Tab. 11.4) [3].

Cubital index is not very effective in identification of honey bee subspecies [10].

References

  1. Moritz R.F.A. (1991) The limitations of biometric control on pure race breeding in Apis mellifera. Journal of Apicultural Research 30:54–59.
  2. Ruttner F. (1991) Biometrical control of breeding. Journal of Apicultural Research 30:113-114.
  3. Ruttner F. (1988) Biogeography and taxonomy of honeybees. Springer, Berlin.
  4. Tofilski A. (2008) Using geometric morphometrics and standard morphometry to discriminate three honeybee subspecies. Apidologie 39:558–563.
  5. Samborski J., Prabucki J., Chuda-Mickiewicz B., Perużyński G. (2002) Operation rate and sensitivity of devices used for determining cubital index value. Journal of Apicultural Science 46:35.
  6. Alpatov V.V. (1948) Porody medonosnoi pchely. Moskovskoje Obscestvo Ispytatielej Prirody, Moskva, pp. 168.
  7. Goetze G. (1959) Die Bedeutung des Flügelgeaders für züchterische Beuerteilung der Honigbiene. Zeitschrift für Bienenforschung 4:141–148.
  8. Sheppard W.S., Arias M.C., Grech A., Meixner M.D. (1997) Apis mellifera ruttneri, a new honey bee subspecies from Malta. Apidologie 28:287–293.
  9. Meixner M.D., Leta M.A., Koeniger N., Fuchs S. (2011) The honey bees of Ethiopia represent a new subspecies of Apis mellifera - Apis mellifera simensis n. ssp. Apidologie 42:425–437.
  10. Groeneveld L.F., Kirkerud L.A., Dahle B., Sunding M., Flobakk M., Kjos M., Henriques D., Pinto M.A., Berg P. (2020) Conservation of the dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera): Estimating C-lineage introgression in Nordic breeding stocks. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A—Animal Science.