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Bradynobaenidae could be changed to Chyphotidae? plus other Vespoidea changes

There's a lot of other proposed changes made in this paper in Vespoidea. Really interesting stuff I learned from Dr. Pitts, who helped ID this ( and this (
Here's a link to the paper...;jsessionid=D142A873553DDEA8870F1687A1EDCFF7.d01t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
I can also email a copy if you're interested. It's pretty dense genetics but really neat!
Thanks all!

The latest:

These changes have been made

now, since you mustn't get away with that scot-free, please update the order page accordingly ))))))))))
okay, i'll do it.

I went ahead and updated
the Aculeata and superfamily pages. You could copy that into the order page. I'd do it but I'm not sure how far into it you are. Let me know and I can.

i see the Hym. page updated
great job!

no problem, i'll manage
thanks for your work, G

Anyone evaluating phylogenies based on DNA
should ponder this classic paper and its implications:

From the abstract:

"if the data are nucleic acid sequences, the character states shared by a divergent outgroup may be based not on history but on random similarity"

This has been in the back of my mind
since the paper was published. I've already elevated Myrmosinae to family since it was an easy change. I think it's a good time to see what the other editors think about making this necessary overhaul.

Basically, Pilgrim et al.'s molecular phylogeny revealed that Vespoidea as currently defined is paraphyletic. Several new superfamilies were created and three families were split into six in order for them to be monophyletic.

The previous classification is based on Brothers (1975). This was reexamined in later papers (Brothers and Carpenter 1993, Brothers 1999) and basically remained unchanged since 1975. In response to Pilgrim et al. (2008) results, many support the new classification (but do call for further investigation). Some, however, do not support it. The ones that do not follow this classification do not give any strong evidence to back their claim. A major paper that supports the findings of Pilgrim et al. (2008) is Debevec et al. (2012): pdf HERE.

The changes that would affect the guide would be:

- Myrmosinae, of Mutillidae, is elevated to family (already done a few years ago)
- Bradynobaenidae is now limited to two subfamilies, one South American and one Old World. This family is now outside the scope of BG. The New World subfamilies that range into the Nearctic, Chyphotinae and Typhoctinae, are now part of the family Chyphotidae.

Tiphiidae (two subfamilies: Brachycistidinae, Tiphiinae)

Chyphotidae (two subfamilies: Chyphotinae, Typhoctinae)
Thynnidae (five subfamilies, three are Nearctic: Anthoboscinae, Methochinae, Myzininae)

Additional superfamilies would also have to be created, since Vespoidea as currently defined is paraphyletic:



Bradynobaenidae s.s. (now outside the geographic scope of BG)


Literature cited:

Brothers, D. J. (1975). Phylogeny and classification of the aculeate Hymenoptera, with special reference to the Mutillidae. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 50, 483–648.

Brothers, D. J. (1999). Phylogeny and evolution of wasps, ants and bees (Hymenoptera, Chrysidoidea, Vespoidea and Apoidea). Zoologica Scripta, 28, 233–249.

Brothers, D. J. & Carpenter, R. M. (1993). Phylogeny of Aculeata: Chrysidoidea and Vespoidea (Hymenoptera). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 2, 227–304.

Debevec, A.H., S. Cardinal, & B.N. Danforth (2012). Identifying the sister group to the bees: a molecular phylogeny of aculeata with an emphasis on the superfamily Apoidea. Zoologica Scripta 41: 527-535.

Pilgrim, E. M., von Dohlen, C. D. & Pitts, J. P. (2008). Molecular phylogenetics of Vespoidea indicate paraphyly of the superfamily and novel relationships of its component families and subfamilies. Zoologica Scripta, 37, 539–560.

The graph on page 531 of Debe
The graph on page 531 of Debevec et al. (2012) has weak support for much of the structure, though the conclusion that a clade including ants and yellowjackets must include bees is strongly supported.

Do any of those papers try to reconcile molecular and morphological evidence?

I don't think it's possible to use the given superfamily classification system without overly cluttering the guide. For example, a page for a reduced Vespoidea with two dissimilar families adds no value and makes the guide harder to use. In the long term making smaller and smaller groups of former Sphecidae into full families does us no good.

We shouldn't create more than five real pages under another without a good reason because browse only shows five. ("Real" excludes, for example, the "nests and burrows" page.)

There are now three Hymenoptera

No Taxon "Symphyta" - Sawflies, Horntails, and Wood Wasps
No Taxon "Parasitica" (parasitic Apocrita)
No Taxon Aculeata - Bees, Ants, and Stinging Wasps

and four Aculeata:

No Taxon Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees
No Taxon Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae
Superfamily Chrysidoidea - Cuckoo Wasps and Allies
Superfamily Vespoidea - Ants, Stinging Wasps, and Hornets

How do these get reorganized and/or expanded for a new structure?

Splitting "Bees, Ants, and Stinging Wasps" into one page for each of its three components would help people find what they are looking for:

No Taxon Symphyta
No Taxon Parasitica
No Taxon Stinging Wasps
No Taxon Ants
No Taxon Bees

"There is no royal road to [insect classification]"
The problem with grouping taxa according to "similarity" as opposed to true relationship is that it is misleading. Ants and bees are, in fact, stinging wasps. Both groups arose from a stinging wasp ancestor. According to Debevec et al., bees are nested within Crabronidae rather than sister to it, so they, too, should be grouped under your stinging wasp category (so it is correct as it is right now in the guide -- all under Aculeata). I think most would find it fascinating that Rhopalosomatidae is sister to Vespidae, rather than never knowing that fact if we arbitrarily lump the leftover families together into an "anything that isn't a bee or an ant" group.

Limiting the classification to only five groups just because that's the page view limit on the website implies that the user isn't smart enough to see there are multiple pages. It isn't difficult to press "page 2, 3, 4.." I tend to believe that people who visit BugGuide are eager to learn, and accordingly we shouldn't be "dumbing down" and diluting the guide so it can be easier to digest. Repeated visits will quickly ingrain the classification in.

Take a look at Parasitica, where nearly all superfamilies are composed of one or two families. I think that helps the user quite a bit in understanding relationships, and does not make the guide more difficult to use. It should be the same way for Aculeata.

It may be helpful to consider these things separately
1) Should we follow the classification best reflecting true relationship?

I agree with George Waldren that we should!

2) Is it always clear which classification to follow, and is the most recently proposed classification necessarily the best?

I think not, but not being a vespoid specialist I don't have strong opinions about this particular reclassification.

Regarding the Debevec et al. paper, I think it unwise to accept their conclusions because, in their own words, "the family-level relationships within bees differ from those previously suggested based on larger data sets" and because extremely important results such as rooting of the bees and placement of Heterogynaeidae were unstable with respect to the method of phylogeny reconstruction (Bayesian vs. ML; even though both methods used impose the same unrealistic assumptions about the homogeneity of evolutionary change). ML bootstrap values are low for several clades within Apoidea, whereas the Bayesian posterior probabilities of "1" can be disregarded as these are well known to be universally inflated to the point that they have minimal credibility or utility as a measure of empirical support. Novel relationships proposed such as placement of Andrenidae (the subject of my PhD dissertation) as a "basal" branch of the bees are not supported by any morphological evidence whatsoever.

thanks for the reply/summing it up
interesting papers
neat how Chyphotidae look superficially like Mutillids, but aren't closely related

thanks for summarizing the upcoming changes
let me know when it's been implemented in the guide so i update the links of the synoptic classification on the order page

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