Phylogeographic analysis reveals high genetic structure with uniform phenotypes in the paper wasp Protonectarina sylveirae (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

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© 2018 da Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Swarm-founding wasps are endemic and common representatives of neotropical fauna and compose an interesting social tribe of vespids, presenting both complex social characteristics and uncommon traits for a eusocial group, such as the absence of castes with distinct morphology. The paper wasp Protonectarina sylveirae (Saussure) presents a broad distribution from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, occurring widespread in the Atlantic rainforest and arboreal Caatinga, being absent in the Amazon region. Given the peculiar distribution among swarm-founding wasps, an integrative approach to reconstruct the evolutionary history of P. sylveirae in a spatial-temporal framework was performed to investigate: the presence of genetic structure and its relationship with the geography, the evolution of distinct morphologic lineages and the possible historical event(s) in Neotropical region, which could explain the observed phylogeographic pattern. Individuals of P. sylveirae were obtained from populations of 16 areas throughout its distribution for DNA extraction and amplification of mitochondrial genes 12S, 16S and COI. Analysis of genetic diversity, construction of hap-lotype net, analysis of population structure and dating analysis of divergence time were performed. A morphometric analysis was also performed using 8 measures of the body of the adult (workers) to test if there are morphological distinction among populations. Thirty-five haplotypes were identified, most of them exclusively of a group and a high population structure was found. The possibility of genetic divergence because of isolation by distance was rejected. Morphological analysis pointed to a great uniformity in phenotypes, with only a small degree of differentiation between populations of south and the remaining. Divergence time analysis showed a Middle/Late Miocene origin, a period where an extensive marine ingression occurred in South America. Divergence of haplogroups began from the Plio/Pleistocene boundary and the last glacial maximum most likely modeled the current distribution of species, even though it was not the cause of genetic breaks.




Da Silva, M., Noll, F. B., & Morales-Correa, A. C. C. E. (2018). Phylogeographic analysis reveals high genetic structure with uniform phenotypes in the paper wasp Protonectarina sylveirae (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). PLoS ONE, 13(3).

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