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Genome. 2016 Oct;59(10):889-898. Epub 2016 May 2.

DNA barcoding as a useful tool in the systematic study of wild bees of the tribe Augochlorini (Hymenoptera: Halictidae).

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a Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia" MACN-CONICET, Angel Gallardo 470, C1405DJR, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
b York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada.


Special care is needed in the delimitation and identification of halictid bee species, which are renowned for being morphologically monotonous. Corynura Spinola and Halictillus Moure (Halictidae: Augochlorini) contain species that are key elements in southern South American ecosystems. These bees are very difficult to identify due to close morphological similarity among species and high sexual dimorphism. We analyzed 170 barcode-compliant COI sequences from 19 species. DNA barcodes were useful to confirm gender associations and to detect two new cryptic species. Interspecific distances were significantly higher than those reported for other bees. Maximum intraspecific divergence was less than 1% in 14 species. Barcode index numbers (BINs) were useful to identify putative species that need further study. More than one BIN was assigned to five species. The name Corynura patagonica (Cockerell) probably refers to two cryptic species. The results suggest that Corynura and Halictillus species can be identified using DNA barcodes. The sequences of the species included in this study can be used as a reference to assess the identification of unknown specimens. This study provides additional support for the use of DNA barcodes in bee taxonomy and the identification of specimens, which is particularly relevant in insects of ecological importance such as pollinators.


Argentina; Argentine; Chile; Chili; DNA barcodes; codes à barres de l’ADN; cryptic species; espèces cryptiques

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