Department of Biology

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Claus Rasmussen

A molecular phylogeny of the Old World stingless bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini) and the non-monophyly of the large genus Trigona

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  • Claus Rasmussen
  • Sydney A. Cameron, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

We examined the inter- and infrageneric relationships of Old World Meliponini with a near-complete sampling of supra-specific taxa. DNA sequences for the taxa were collected from four genes (mitochondrial 16S rRNA, nuclear long-wavelength rhodopsin copy 1 (opsin), elongation factor-1α copy F2 and arginine kinase). Additional sampling of New World taxa indicated that Trigona sensu lato is not monophyletic: Trigona from the Indo-Malayan/Australasian Regions forms a large clade distantly related to the Neotropical Trigona. A separate clade comprises the Afrotropical meliponines, and includes the 'minute' species found in the Afrotropical, Indo-Malayan and Australasian Regions. The Neotropical genus Melipona, by contrast with previous investigations, is not the sister lineage to the remaining stingless bees, but falls within the strongly supported Neotropical clade. These results constitute the framework for a revised classification and ongoing biological investigations of Meliponini. A single taxonomic change, Heterotrigona bakeri stat.n., is proposed on the basis of sequence divergence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSystematic Entomology
Pages (from-to)26-39
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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