Adding attractive semio-chemical trait refines the taxonomy of Alpinobombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
- Publication Date
- Jan 01, 2018
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Species taxonomy of bumblebees (Bombus Latreille, 1802) is well known to be problematic due to a potentially high intra-specific variability of morphological traits while different species can converge locally to the same color pattern (cryptic species). Assessing species delimitation remains challenging because it requires to arbitrarily select variable traits whose accuracy continues to be debated. Integrative taxonomic approach seems to be very useful for this group as different independent traits are assessed to propose a rational taxonomic hypothesis. Among operational criteria to assess specific status, the reproductive traits involved in the pre-mating recognition (i.e., the male cephalic labial gland secretions, CLGS) have been premium information. Since these secretions are supposed to be species-specific, these chemical traits can bring essential information where species delimitation is debated. Here, we describe and compare the CLGS of 161 male specimens of nine Alpinobombus taxa: alpinus, balteatus, helleri, hyperboreus, kirbiellus, natvigi, neoboreus, polaris, and pyrrhopygus. We aim also to test the congruence between this new information (reproductive traits) and published genetic dataset. Our results emphasized six distinct groups with diagnostic major compounds: (a) alpinus + helleri with hexadec-9-en-1-ol; (b) polaris + pyrrhopygus with two major compounds hexadec-9-en-1-ol and hexadec-9-enal; (c) balteatus with tetradecyl acetate; (d) kirbiellus with geranyl geranyl acetate; (e) hyperboreus + natvigi with octadec-11-en-1-ol; (f) neoboreus with octadec-9-en-1-ol. Based on this new information, we can confirm the species status of B. alpinus, B. balteatus, B. hyperboreus, B. kirbiellus, B. neoboreus, and B. polaris. We also confirm the synonymy of helleri (Alps) with alpinus (Sweden). However, the specific status of natvigi (Alaska) and pyrrhopygus (Sweden) is questionable and these taxa do not have specific CLGS composition.