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Phylogenetic relationships and biogeography of the Ipsiura cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae)


Phylogenetic studies addressing relationships among chrysidid wasps have been limited. There are no hypotheses proposed for the Neotropical lineages of Chrysidini other than the classic cladogram published in the 1990s by Kimsey and Bohart. Herein we present a cladistic analysis based on 64 morphological characters coded for 54 species of Chrysidini, 32 of them being Ipsiura and 22 representing Caenochrysis, Chrysis, Exochrysis, Gaullea, Neochrysis, and Pleurochrysis. The species of Ipsiura were recovered as monophyletic and as the sister clade of Neochrysis in all most parsimonious trees. We discuss the high plasticity of some morphological characters as evidenced by their high homoplasy in the phylogenetic results, and we clarify the main morphological changes inferred on the phylogenetic tree for this genus. The effects of the inferred homoplasy were evaluated under an implied weighting cladistic analysis, and from a probabilistic perspective with Bayesian inference. Those alternative strategies did not alter the general conclusions about the monophyly of Ipsiura or the generic relationships in Chrysidini (changes were noticed in the species-level relationships within certain parts of Ipsiura, where low branch support was common across all approaches). Among the species groups proposed by Linsenmaier (1985), only the marginalis group was recovered as monophyletic. We also evaluated the convoluted biogeographic history of the group. The resulting historical reconstructions indicate a complicated scenario of diversification of these wasps in the Neotropics, and a close association with forested biomes is discussed.

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