Molecular phylogeny of the small carpenter bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Ceratinini) indicates early and rapid global dispersal

Sandra Rehan, Thomas Chapman, Andrew Craigie, Miriam Richards, Steven Cooper, Michael Schwarz

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    42 Citations (Scopus)


    The small carpenter bees (tribe Ceratinini, family Apidae) are recorded from all continents except Antarctica. The Ceratinini have a near-global distribution which contrasts strongly with their sister tribe, the Allodapini which has a largely southern Old World distribution. The Ceratinini therefore provides an excellent group to understand the factors that help determine the biogeography and radiation of the bees. This is the first molecular study of ceratinine bees covering representatives from both northern and southern hemisphere Old and New World regions. We use two mitochondrial and one nuclear marker (totalling 2807 nucleotides) to examine the age, cladogenesis and historical biogeography of this tribe. Tree topology and molecular dating support an African origin at about 47 Mya with subsequent dispersal into Eurasia 44 Mya, and followed by an American invasion 32 Mya. Concentrated African and Malagasy sampling revealed there were two or three dispersals events into Madagascar ranging from 25 to 9 Mya. Lineage through time analyses suggest higher rates of cladogenesis close to the origin of the tribe, and this corresponds to both major dispersal events and divergences of lineages leading to extant subgenera. Ceratinini have potentially great importance for future studies to understand the relative roles of dispersal ability and time of origin in determining bee biogeography.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1042-1054
    Number of pages13
    JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


    • Bee phylogeny
    • Ceratina
    • Ceratinini
    • Historical biogeography
    • Rapid radiations
    • Small carpenter bee


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