Integrative taxonomy resuscitates two species in the Lasioglossum villosulum complex (Kirby, 1802) (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Halictidae)

  • Alain Pauly Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, O.D. Taxonomy and Phylogeny & JEMU, rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels
  • Grégoire Noël Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, University of Liège - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Passage des Déportés 2, B-5030 Gembloux
  • Gontran Sonet Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, O.D. Taxonomy and Phylogeny & JEMU, rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels
  • David G. Notton Department of Life Sciences, Insects Division, Darwin Centre - Room 315, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
  • Jean-Luc Boevé Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, O.D. Taxonomy and Phylogeny & JEMU, rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels
Keywords: bees, Palaearctic, COI, phylogeny, morphology, integrative taxonomy, cryptic species


Morphological and allozyme analyses suggested the occurrence of a pseudocryptic species in the Lasioglossum villosulum (Kirby, 1802) species complex (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). We analysed the morphology of more than 1500 specimens and the DNA barcode fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) of 102 specimens of this species complex from several Palaearctic countries. Our phylogenetic tree reconstructions, based on maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference revealed one clade corresponding to all specimens morphologically identified as Lasioglossum medinai (Vachal, 1895) and one divergent specimen morphologically identified as Lasioglossum berberum (Benoist, 1941). The other specimens, morphologically identified as L. villosulum, aggregated into at least three other lineages in our phylogenetic trees. The tree-based species delineations methods based on the Generalized Mixed Yule Coalescent (GMYC) model and the Bayesian Poisson Tree Process (bPTP) identified five to ten candidate species within the L. villosulum species complex, with L. medinai and L. berberum consistently recognized as separated from all other candidate species. Diagnostic morphological differences were found among L. medinai, L. berberum and the remaining specimens identified as L. villosulum. No diagnostic morphological differences were found to distinguish the different phylogenetic candidate species or lineages found within L. villosulum and L. medinai. Thus, both genetic and morphological approaches support the existence of L. medinai and L. berberum as distinct species from L. villosulum.


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How to Cite
Pauly, A., Noël, G., Sonet, G., Notton, D. G., & Boevé, J.-L. (2019). Integrative taxonomy resuscitates two species in the Lasioglossum villosulum complex (Kirby, 1802) (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Halictidae). European Journal of Taxonomy, (541).