Indexed on: 01 Apr '14Published on: 01 Apr '14Published in: Neotropical Entomology
This study aimed at testing the utility of characters derived from chitinous structures of the sting apparatus for elucidating relationships among the genera of Epiponini. The characters were obtained from the spiracular and quadrate plates, gonostylus, and sting. The data matrix was analyzed using parsimony with equal and implied weighting. Sting characters were also optimized on the tree of Wenzel & Carpenter (1994). Consensus of analysis using equal weights parsimony resulted in a tree with low resolution, but the use of implied weighting improved the results and a consensus tree with a better resolution was obtained. Implied weighting analysis showed an interesting result with Vespinae and Epiponini (the taxa that present the highest degree of sociality) together in a clade. The overall uniformity in morphology of sting apparatus and a possible influence of sociality on morphology could explain these results. The evolution of some characters is discussed.