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Does geometric morphometrics support the distinction between the two groups of populations characterized in Partamona rustica (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)?

Grant number: 19/14363-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): October 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Marco Antonio Del Lama
Grantee:Vinícius de Oliveira Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Stingless bees of the genus Partamona Schwarz, 1939 occur from southern Mexico to southern Brazil. Partamona rustica Camargo and Pedro 2003 is a species of social bee endemic to the dry forests of the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes in Brazil, distributed from the northern portion of the state of Minas Gerais to the southwestern portion of the state of Bahia. This bee nests on arboreal termite nests of the species Constrictotermes cyphergaster Silvestri, which is endemic to South America. P. rustica visits at least 62 plant species in the surrounding ecotones. Beekeeping and the deforestation of these biomes are the main threats to populations of the species. Sequence analysis of three mitochondrial genes and eight microsatellite loci demonstrated the existence of two groups of populations of P. rustica: one to the west (n = 2 populations) and one to the east (n = 9) of the São Francisco River valley. These groups separated in the late Pleistocene. Both ABC and phylogenetic reconstruction analyses indicate that P. rustica originated west of the São Francisco River, subsequently colonizing areas east of the river. Migration tests detected low gene flow between the population groups. Isolation by distance was detected in analyses with microsatellite loci, but not with mitochondrial data, indicating that this difference may be due to the philopatric behavior of females and the dispersing role of males. The aim of the present work is to determine whether geometric morphometrics of the wings confirms the existence of these two groups of populations. The execution of the work is justified by the importance of phylogeographic studies to establishing firmly whether the São Francisco River constituted a barrier to gene flow in an insect species with good flying capacity.