Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (2012) 110: 108–113. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2012.02.014Botías C et al.
Although Nosema ceranae was first isolated from the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) in Asia and then subsequently recognized as a widespread gut parasite of the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera), its origins and primary host are yet to be accurately established. In this study we examined the possibility of an Asian origin for the parasite by looking for evidence of its ongoing spread out of Asia. To do this, we surveyed for the presence of N. ceranae in A. cerana and A. mellifera on isolated islands of the Solomon Islands (Pacific region), most of which were inhabited with A. mellifera that had been introduced from Australia and New Zealand at a time when N. ceranae was not present in either country, but on which some had also recently become inhabited with invasive A. cerana that originated from Asia with no prior history of contact with A. mellifera infected with N. ceranae. We also sought to verify previous findings that N. ceranae was widespread in Asian honeybees by surveying for its presence in isolated populations of the Asian honeybees, A. cerana, A. koschevnikovi, A. nigrocincta and A. florea. We obtained evidence that A. cerana introduced N. ceranae to A. mellifera in the Solomon Islands and also confirmed the widespread occurrence of the parasite in Asian honeybees, even reporting it for the first time in A. koschevnikovi from Borneo.
Our findings provide further support for the hypothesis that N. ceranae has only recently emerged from Asia to become a parasite of A. mellifera.
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