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Volume 39, Number 1, January-February 2008
Insights into Bee Evolution: A Tribute to Charles D. Michener
Page(s) 163 - 175
Published online 25 January 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 163-175
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2007046

Phylogenetic analysis of the corbiculate bee tribes based on 12 nuclear protein-coding genes (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apidae)

Atsushi Kawakita1, John S. Ascher2, Teiji Sota3, Makoto Kato1 and David W. Roubik4

1  Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
2  Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA
3  Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
4  Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Ancon, Panama

(Received 2 July 2007 - Revised 3 October 2007 - Accepted 3 October 2007 - Published online 25 January 2008)

Abstract - The corbiculate bees comprise four tribes, the advanced eusocial Apini and Meliponini, the primitively eusocial Bombini, and the solitary or communal Euglossini. Recovering a robust phylogeny for the four tribes is of considerable importance for understanding the evolution of eusociality, yet previous morphological and molecular studies reached strikingly different conclusions. We study an expanded data set consisting of 12 nuclear genes to explore lines of support for the molecular hypothesis. Results corroborate previous molecular studies; support increases as more genes are added. Across genes, support for the molecular hypothesis is positively correlated with the number of informative sites and the relative substitution rate. Phylogenetic signals supporting the molecular tree rest almost entirely upon synonymous changes at the first and third codon positions. We discuss possible future approaches for resolving the frustratingly persistent corbiculate bee controversy.

Key words: advanced eusociality / bumble bee / corbiculate bee / honey bee / nuclear genes / orchid bee / phylogeny / stingless bee

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008