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On the origin of the bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Sphecidae)

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

The bees are best to be regarded as a specialized subgroup of the superfamily Sphecoidea, and a cladistic analysis results in accepting the "Sphecidae" as being paraphyletic in terms of the bees. The Sphecoidea is distinguished by three strong synapomorphic traits, and it is demonstrated that the bees share at least two apomorphic characters with the "higher" sphecids, leaving the Sphecinae + the Ampulicinae as the least specialized members of the complex. The Sphecoidea is suggested to include the following families, of which the two first constitute the "Sphecidae" of earlier authors, viz. 1) Sphecidae (Sphecinae + Ampulicinae), 2) Larridae (remaining sphecid subfamilies), and 3) Apidae.

Affiliations: 1: O. Lomholdt, Zoological Museum, Universitetsparken 15, DK 2100 Copenhagen, Den- mark


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