Free Access
Volume 23, Number 6, 1992
Page(s) 509 - 522
Apidologie 23 (1992) 509-522
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19920603

Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography of the Meliponinae (Hymenoptera, Apidae): a mini-review

J.M.F. de Camargo and S.R. de Menezes Pedro

Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, 14040-901, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Abstract - The main proposals for systematics, phylogeny and biogeography of the Meliponinae, and the polarity and significance of some morphological characters are discussed. Although a set of probable synapomorphies is suggestive of the Meliponinae as a co-phyletic group with the Apinae, Bombinae and Euglossinae, the relationships with these subfamilies remain unclear. The distributional pattern and fossil record are indicative of greater antiquity for the Meliponinae and suggestive of an independent origin or an early divergence from a proto-other Apidae branch. The sister-group relationship between Malayan and neotropical Meliponinae (Tetragona-Tetragonisca line and possibly Trigonisca-Pariotrigona, Lisotrigona), and the probable relationship between Austroplebeia and the neotropical Plebeia line, are suggestive of a West-Gondwanan origin for the Meliponinae, with 2 main dispersal routes via the holarctic and panaustral regions.

Key words: systematics / biogeography / Apidae / Meliponinae / phylogeny