Free Access
Volume 34, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 73 - 84
Apidologie 34 (2003) 73-84
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002051

Molecular phylogeny of the stingless bees (Apidae, Apinae, Meliponini) inferred from mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences

Marco A. Costaa, Marco A. Del Lamaa, Gabriel A.R. Melob and Walter S. Sheppardc

a  Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Via Washington Luís, Km 235, São Carlos, SP 13565-905, Brazil
b  Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Cx. Postal 19020, Curitiba, PR, 81531-980, Brazil
c  Department of Entomology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6382, USA

(Received 25 April 2002; revised 26 June 2002; accepted 17 September 2002)

Sequence data from the mitochondrial 16S rDNA of 34 species from 22 genera of stingless bees plus outgroup sequences from 11 species of other corbiculate bees were used to investigate the phylogenetic relationships among the Meliponini. Equally weighted parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses were performed. Four main clades were recognized in the parsimony consensus tree: (A) Hypotrigona, (B) Austroplebeia, (C) remaining African genera (Plebeina, Meliplebeia, and Axestotrigona) plus the two Oriental genera (Lepidotrigona and Heterotrigona), and (D) Neotropical genera. The African genus Hypotrigona was placed as the most basal branch in the tribe, followed by Austroplebeia as the sister group of other two major clades (C and D). Our results did not support traditional groups with intercontinental composition, e.g. Trigona sensu lato or Plebeia sensu lato.

Key words: stingless bees / Meliponini / 16S rDNA / phylogeny

Correspondence and reprints: Marco A. Costa

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003