Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?
Imagine trying to say that while you are drink. "Would you like to go "anthropomorphism"? You would be setting their alone with the bar locked up for the night before you got your tongue around it.
Originally Posted by jrbbees
The Honey be is without a doubt a strange creature when it comes to the passing on of genes. the father is eliminated that is true. but the grandfather is as much a factor as the grandmother with the mother just being the mixing pot. The great unknown factor is teh Drone. given any queen could have mated with dozens. Passed the traits of any single of of those to the particular daughter and then an unknown quantity of those genetics are then passed on to the grand daughter. Any given queen could be anything from 0 to 100% the genetics of their grandfather.
To simplify it I like to think of a Drone as an egg with wings and the ability to mate. The genes it posses are only the genes possessed by it's mother but a random combination of her genes. and half of her genes came from a drone. A Drone that was once again nothing more than an egg with wings and a few extra parts.
It would seem that the drone then plays little roll in the genetics of the colony. but the opposite is not only true but true to a multiplied factor. If you look at the entire genetic makeup of a colony. the queen contributes only one full set of genes. while the drones she mated with could add as many as a dozen or more complete and distinct sets of their own. Each set of Drone genes is complete and self contained so it is not part of one drone and part another that is getting passed on to a worker or a virgin queen. but the full set of genes from any one of the multiple sets of drone genes. Producing multiple virgin queens increases the likelyhood that all drones that mated with that queen will pass on and survive to produce a future colony.
With control over a queen you can control one set of genes in the future colony with control over the drones you have control over anywhere from a hand full to 20 or more sets of genes. In II they may mix the genes of 200 or more drones for the semen that they use to fertilize virgin queens with. That is a lot of genetic diversity in one small package.
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