Bees are one of the most conspicuous and abundant groups included into the order Hymenoptera. Its diversity of living taxa - about 20,000 valid species - is the result of approximately 120 million years of evolution, reflected by the notoriously morphological and behavioral disparity of its representative taxa. The group offers an intriguing model for comparative investigations associating the understanding of the evolution of morphological traits with macro-evolutionary factors. In this way, a phylogenetic background becomes indispensable. Despite the considerable increase of phylogenetic knowledge about bees gained during the last three decades, important questions endure. Phylogenetic placement of various taxa remain controversial, mainly because of the lack of appropriate investigations. This kind of uncertainty could be alleviated with the addition and refinement of data. This project aims at elucidating the phylogenetic relationships among the main linages of bees utilizing sets of morphological data underexplored in the literature-particularly characters from internal skeletal morphology. To accomplish this 87 species will be sampled, representing 26 subfamilies and 61 tribes of the main clades of bees. The terminal taxa will have their morphology studied employing traditional optical microscopy techniques, allied with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tridimensional reconstructions by nano-tomography (nano-CT scan). The resultant dataset will be used in subsequent phylogenetic analyses, which are expected to provide revised foundations to the understanding of evolution of suites morphological traits in bees.
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