Australian Lasioglossum + Homalictus form a monophyletic group: resolving the "Australian enigma".Syst Biol. 2001 Apr; 50(2):268-83.SB
The bee genus Lasioglossum includes > 1,000 species of bees distributed on all continents except Antarctica. Lasioglossum is a major component of the bee fauna in the Holarctic, Ethiopian, and Asian regions and is an important group for investigating the evolution of social behavior in bees. Given its cosmopolitan distribution, the historical biogeography of the genus is of considerable interest. We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships among the subgenera and species within Lasioglossum s.s., using DNA sequence data from a slowly evolving nuclear gene, elongation factor-1 alpha. The entire data set includes > 1,604 aligned nucleotide sites (including three exons plus two introns) for 89 species (17 outgroups plus 72 ingroups). Parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses provide strong evidence that the primarily Indoaustralian subgenera (Homalictus, Chilalictus, Parasphecodes) form a monophyletic group. Bootstrap support for the Australian clade ranged from 73% to 77%, depending on the method of analysis. Monophyly of the Australian Lasioglossum suggests that a single colonization event (by way of Southeast Asia and New Guinea) gave rise to a lineage of > 350 native Indoaustralian bees. We discuss the implications of Australian monophyly for resolving the "Australian enigma"--the similarity in social behavior among the Australian halictine bees relative to that of Holarctic groups.