Phylogeny and biogeography of the cleptoparasitic bee genus Epeolus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and cophylogenetic analysis with its host bee genus Colletes (Hymenoptera: Colletidae).Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2019 12; 141:106603.MP
The bee genus Epeolus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Apidae) consists of 109 species, which are known to be exclusively cleptoparasites of polyester (or cellophane) bees of the genus Colletes Latreille (Hymenoptera: Colletidae). Both genera have a nearly cosmopolitan distribution and are represented on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. We present the most comprehensive phylogeny for Epeolus to date, based on combined molecular and morphological data. In total, 59 ingroup taxa (species of Epeolus) and 7 outgroup taxa (other Epeolini) were scored for 99 morphological characters, and sequence data were obtained for seven genes (one mitochondrial and six nuclear, 5399 bp in total). Epeolus was found to be monophyletic, with a crown age estimated to be 25.0-13.4 Ma (95% HPD) and its origins traced to the Nearctic region. Epeolus was found to contain six major clades, five of which were well supported. The evolutionary history of Epeolus is explored in the context of earth history events and the evolutionary history of its host genus Colletes, for which a molecular phylogeny was constructed based on the same seven genes. A comparison of Epeolus and Colletes phylogenies limited to taxa for which there is evidence of an association suggests there was some cospeciation. However, more cladogenetic events in Epeolus were linked to instances of dispersal/vicariance. It is not yet clear the extent to which allopatric speciation contributed to diversification in Colletes, but the genus' success in having colonized and diversified across much of the globe made it possible for Epeolus to do the same.