Morphometric analysis of fossil bumble bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombini) reveals their taxonomic affinities
Engel, Michael S.
Aytekin, A. Murat
Williams, Paul H.
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are a widespread corbiculate lineage (Apinae: Corbiculata: Bombini), mostly found among temperate and alpine ecosystems. Approximately 260 species have been recognized and grouped recently into a simplified system of 15 subgenera. Most of the species are nest-building and primitively eusocial. Species of Bombus have been more intensely studied than any other lineages of bees with the exception of the honey bees. However, most bumble bee fossils are poorly described and documented, making their placement relative to other Bombus uncertain. A large portion of the known and presumed bumble bee fossils were re-examined in an attempt to better understand their affinities with extant Bombini. The taxonomic affinities of fossil specimens were re-assessed based on morphological features and previous descriptions, and for 13 specimens based on geometric morphometrics of forewing shape. None of the specimens coming from Eocene and Oligocene deposits were assigned within the contemporary shape space of any subgenus of Bombus. It is shown that Calyptapis florissantensis Cockerell, 1906 (Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Florissant shale, Colorado, USA) and Oligobombus cuspidatus Antropov, 2014 (Late Eocene, Bembridge Marls) likely belong to stem-group Bombini. Bombus anacolus Zhang, 1994, B. dilectus Zhang, 1994, B. luianus Zhang, 1990 (Middle Miocene, Shanwang Formation), as well as B. vetustus Rasnitsyn & Michener, 1991 (Miocene, Botchi Formation) are considered as species inquirenda. In the Miocene, affinities of fossils with derived subgenera of Bombus s. l. increased, and some are included in the shape space of contemporary subgenera: Cullumanobombus (i.e., B. pristinus Unger, 1867, B. randeckensis Wappler & Engel, 2012, and B. trophonius Prokop, Dehon, Michez & Engel, 2017), Melanobombus (i.e., B. cerdanyensis Dehon, De Meulemeester & Engel, 2014), and Mendacibombus (i.e., B. beskonakensis (Nel & Petrulevičius, 2003), new combination), agreeing with previous estimates of diversification.
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Dehon, M., Engel, M. S., Gérard, M., Aytekin, A. M., Ghisbain, G., Williams, P. H., Rasmont, P., & Michez, D. (2019). Morphometric analysis of fossil bumble bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombini) reveals their taxonomic affinities. ZooKeys, 891, 71–118. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.891.36027
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