Bumble Bee Flying


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The bumblebee tribe Bombini is one of four groups of corbiculate bees (those with pollen baskets) in the Apidae, the others being the Apini (honey bees), Euglossini (orchid bees), and Meliponini (stingless bees). The corbiculate bees are a monophyletic group. Advanced eusocial behaviour appears to have evolved twice in the group, giving rise to controversy, now largely settled, as to the phylogenetic origins of the four tribes; it had been supposed that eusocial behaviour had evolved only once, requiring the Apini to be close to the Meliponini, which they do not resemble. It is now thought that the Apini (with advanced societies) and Euglossini are closely related, while the primitively eusocial Bombini are close to the Meliponini, which have somewhat more advanced eusocial behaviour. Sophie Cardinal and Bryan Danforth comment that "While remarkable, a hypothesis of dual origins of advanced eusociality is congruent with early studies on corbiculate morphology and social behavior. " Their analysis, combining molecular, morphological and behavioural data, gives the following cladogram: