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Systematics of the Pseudocentron-group of Megachile (Megachilidae: Megachilini) and relevance to the biogeography of neotropical bees

Grant number: 22/15636-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Andrade Botelho de Almeida
Grantee:Diego Alexander Guevara Farías
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):24/00887-0 - Biogeographic connections between the neotropical and nearctic regions inferred from the history of leaf-cutting bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), BE.EP.MS

Abstract

Leaf-cutting bees, Megachile (Apoidea: Megachilidae), include important pollinators of wild and cultivated plants and most species are known to cut leaves and roll them to line their brood cells when building nests. Megachile is the largest genus of Megachilidae (approximately 1500 species worldwide) and is also the most species-rich in Brazil, which poses challenges to the taxonomy of his taxon. Recent phylogenetic hypotheses shed light on the limits of subgenera and enabled the recognition of species- and subgenus-groups, such as the Pseudocentron-group, comprising M. (Acentron), M. (Grafella), M. (Leptorachis), M. (Leptorachina), M. (Melanosaurus), M. (Moureapis), and M. (Pseudocentron). The Pseudocentron-group was recovered as monophyletic, and it includes very important components of the melittofauna of the New World with more than 150 species (57 in Brazil). Nevertheless, their phylogenetic, biogeographic and plant relationships remain understudied. This research project aims to investigate the evolution and spatiotemporal historical patterns of the Pseudocentron-group of Megachile, starting with the proposal of a phylogenetic hypothesis based on morphological and molecular data. Refining the phylogenetic understanding within the Pseudocentron-group of Megachile will enable taxonomic improvements in the circumscription of the subgenera, estimation of divergence times among its lineages and an investigation of how these components of the neotropical bee fauna diversified during the Cenozoic.

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