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Abstract

This study aimed to test the various competing hypotheses regarding the relationships among the four tribes of corbiculate apine bees (Euglossini “orchid bees”, Bombini “bumble bees”, Meliponini “stingless bees”, and Apini “honey bees”) with a completely new set of previously unstudied morphological characters derived from the sting apparatus. The result was one most parsimonious tree of 49 steps, CI = 89, RI = 93 that is perfectly congruent with most studies based on morphological and combined morphological/molecular data, i.e., Euglossini + (Bombini + (Meliponini + Apini)), supporting a well accepted scenario of social evolution for these bees. This data matrix was then combined with other published matrices for this group in order to perform simultaneous analyses. The problem of how to best combine the multiple matrices that did not use the same exemplars was investigated.

© The Willi Hennig Society 2007.