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Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2023

Key innovations and the diversification of Hymenoptera

Astrid Cruaud
István Mikó
Elijah J. Talamas


The order Hymenoptera (wasps, ants, sawflies, and bees) represents one of the most diverse animal lineages, but whether specific key innovations have contributed to its diversification is still unknown. We assembled the largest time-calibrated phylogeny of Hymenoptera to date and investigated the origin and possible correlation of particular morphological and behavioral innovations with diversification in the order: the wasp waist of Apocrita; the stinger of Aculeata; parasitoidism, a specialized form of carnivory; and secondary phytophagy, a reversal to plant-feeding. Here, we show that parasitoidism has been the dominant strategy since the Late Triassic in Hymenoptera, but was not an immediate driver of diversification. Instead, transitions to secondary phytophagy (from parasitoidism) had a major influence on diversification rate in Hymenoptera. Support for the stinger and the wasp waist as key innovations remains equivocal, but these traits may have laid the anatomical and behavioral foundations for adaptations more directly associated with diversification.
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Dates and versions

hal-04031229 , version 1 (15-03-2023)





Bonnie B. Blaimer, Bernardo F. Santos, Astrid Cruaud, Michael W. Gates, Robert R. Kula, et al.. Key innovations and the diversification of Hymenoptera. Nature Communications, 2023, 14, pp.1212. ⟨10.1038/s41467-023-36868-4⟩. ⟨hal-04031229⟩
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