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Comparative anatomic thoracic musculature of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila): classical and contemporary techniques

Grant number: 21/07258-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): June 30, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Andrade Botelho de Almeida
Grantee:Odair Milioni de Meira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/09215-6 - Countering the taxonomic impediment of aculeate wasps: micro- and macroregional visions of the neotropical fauna, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):22/11349-3 - Applications of nano CT-scan to the interpretation and documentation of the skeletomuscular anatomy of bees, BE.EP.DR


Bees are currently classified into seven widely recognized families and comprise altogether more than 20,000 described species. In addition to their taxonomic diversity, bees exhibit a wide range of morphological variations (e.g., body length ranging from 2 to 40 mm), as well as behavioral (mostly solitary, but with species exhibiting sophisticated behaviors related to life in society) and functional differences (e.g., pollen collection, nest building and digging behaviors or the use of preexisting cavities, apterous or long-distance flying species). This wide variation may be significantly associated with the thoracic morphology, a region in bees primarily related to locomotion, as it is the case in several animal groups. In this perspective, it is expected that changes in the anatomy of the thorax might have occurred in several contexts during the evolutionary history of bees, especially regarding the skeletal musculature. The research on the thoracic musculature lacks an approach in which the use of modern comparative tools is applied to explicitly consider recent hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships. Thus, the objective of this research proposal is to investigate the thoracic musculature of bees under a comparative perspective using complementary techniques of anatomical research. Traditional dissection approaches and modern approaches (scanning electron microscopy and nanotomography) of comparative anatomy will be employed to compare a phylogenetically diverse sample of bee lineages, seeking to illuminate phylogenetic, adaptive, and morpho-functional aspects. As a result, the thoracic morphological variation of different bee lineages will be clearly depicted as well as the potential of these structures to help resolve long-standing controversies both in phylogenetic and morpho-functional contexts. (AU)

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