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These analyses reveal movements of concordant with geographic and climatic events of the late Cenozoic.
The initial diversification of extant bumble bee lineages was estimated at around 25 to 40 Ma, near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary 34 Ma, a period of dramatic global cooling.
) are a cold-adapted, largely alpine group that can elucidate patterns of Holarctic historical biogeography, particularly in comparison to the alpine plants with which they likely coevolved.
A recently published molecular phylogeny of bumble bees provides uniquely comprehensive species sampling for exploring historical patterns of distribution and diversification.
A simplified subgeneric system for the bumble bees upon the 38 subgenera employed here and in Cameron et al. The sequence data include ∼ 3745 amplified nucleotides, including both intron and exon regions from five genes: mitochondrial 16S r DNA, elongation factor-1α F2 copy (EF-1α), long-wavelength rhodopsin (opsin), arginine kinase (Arg K), and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK).
Missing species are mostly from the mountains of Asia and fall rather evenly across the subgenera (Cameron et al., 2007), with the exception of (5 of 12 species missing).
has been considered of early Cenozoic origin (Williams, 1985) based on early fossils described under the genus from the Paleocene and Oligocene, but these fossils have since been considered incorrectly or unreliably placed (Engel, 2001; Zeuner and Manning, 1976; Rasnitsyn and Michener, 1991).
In this article, I examine the historical biogeography of bumble bees using the comprehensive species phylogeny of Cameron et al. Patterns of dispersal are placed in an environmental context using divergence time estimates derived from fossil and ecological information and molecular rates from the literature.
The nearly complete species sampling also provides an appropriate framework to make reliable assessments of temporal patterns of diversification, which are analyzed for various clades of interest using LTT plots and diversification statistics, with the stability of these results tested across a body of nearly optimal trees and using a slightly modified data set.
The corbiculate bees radiated prior to 65 million years ago (Ma), the age assigned to the oldest corbiculate bee fossil (Grimaldi and Engel, 2005), and after the origin of the bees (Anthophila) at ∼ 125 Ma (Danforth et al., 2006).
Given that the corbiculate bees are a more apical clade within the bees (Danforth et al., 2006), they likely radiated tens of millions of years after the initial bee diversification.