Trigona carbonaria, photographed by Peter O.

Belongs within: Corbiculata.

The Meliponini, stingless bees, are a diverse group of bees in the tropics. As well as the reduced sting, they are characterised by a weakened distal forewing venation (Engel 2001).

Characters (from Engel 2001): Minute to moderate size (ca. 1.5–13 mm long), sparsely to moderately pubescent bees. Mandible without outer mandibular grooves. Labral width three to four times length. Clypeus variously produced, typically gently convex and not protuberant in profile. Compound eyes typically bare. Supra-alar carina absent; scutellum broadly rounded posteriorly and variously produced (i.e., ranging from projecting over metanotum and propodeum to not projecting at all). Claws of female simple; arolium strong and present; metatibial spurs absent; malus of strigilis without anterior velum; metabasitarsus without auricle; metatibia with penicillum. Distal venation of forewing weakened; marginal cell apex typically open; pterostigma present, moderate to large in size, much longer than prestigma, r-rs arising near midpoint, margin within marginal cell convex; 1m-cu, when present, angled; hind wing with distinct jugal lobe, lobe broadly and deeply incised; hamuli reduced; wing membrane without alar papillae. Sting reduced.

<==Meliponini [Lestrimelittini, Meliponites, Trigonini]
    |  i. s.: Plebeia CSD10
    |         Tetragonisca angustula TM03
    |         Partamona cupeira B04
    |         Cretotrigona Engel 2000 E01
    |           `--*C. prisca (Michener & Grimaldi 1988) [=Trigona (Trigona) prisca] E01
    |         Meliponorytes Tosi 1896 E01
    |           |--*M. succini Tosi 1896 E01
    |           `--M. sicula E01
    |         Proplebeia Michener 1982 E01
    |           |--*P. dominicana (Wille & Chandler 1964) (see below for synonymy) E01
    |           |--P. tantilla E01
    |           `--P. vetusta E01
    |         Dactylurina CSD10
    |--+--+--Tetragonula carbonaria (Smith 1854) CSD10
    |  |  `--+--+--Hypotrigona gribodoi (Magretti 1884) CSD10
    |  |     |  `--Kelneriapis Sakagami 1978 CSD10, E01 [=Kelnermelia Moure in Moure & Camargo 1978 E01]
    |  |     |       `--*K. eocenica (Kelner-Pillault 1969) (see below for synonymy) E01
    |  |     `--+--Liotrigonopsis Engel 2001 CSD10, E01
    |  |        |    `--*L. rozeni Engel 2001 E01
    |  |        `--Liotrigona CSD10
    |  |             |--L mahafalya E01
    |  |             `--L. vetula E01
    |  `--+--Plebeina hildebrandti (Friese 1900) CSD10
    |     `---+--Axestotrigona ferruginea (Lepeletier 1836) CSD10
    |         `--Meliponula CSD10
    |              |--M. bocandei CSD10
    |              `--M. erythra E01
    `--+--Melipona Illiger 1806 CSD10, E01
       |    |--M. alinderi BB01
       |    |--M. domestica D59
       |    |--M. quadrifasciata TM03
       |    `--M. rufiventris TM03
       `--+--Lestrimelitta Friese 1903 CSD10, E01
          `--+--Scaura latitarsis (Friese 1900) CSD10
             `--+--Scaptotrigona hellwegeri (Friese 1900) CSD10
                `--+--Cephalotrigona capitata (Smith 1854) CSD10
                   `--Trigona Jurine 1807 CSD10, E01
                        |--T. amalthea B04
                        |    |--T. a. amalthea B04
                        |    `--T. a. silvestriana B04
                        |--T. carbonaria E01
                        |--T. fulviventris TM03
                        |--T. fuscipennis Friese 1900 CSD10
                        |--T. hyalinata B04
                        |    |--T. h. hyalinata B04
                        |    `--T. h. amazonensis B04
                        |--T. iridipennis [incl. Meliponorytes devictus Cockerell 1921] E01
                        |--T. laeviceps Z02
                        `--T. lurida E01

*Kelneriapis eocenica (Kelner-Pillault 1969) [=Hypotrigona eocenica, *Kelnermelia eocenica, Tetragonula (*Kelneriapis) eocenica, Trigona (Hypotrigona) eocenica] E01

*Proplebeia dominicana (Wille & Chandler 1964) [=Trigona (Liotrigona) dominicana, T. (*Proplebeia) dominicana] E01

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BB01] Bowestead, S., R. G. Booth, A. Silpinski & J. F. Lawrence. 2001. The genus Cleidostethus Arrow, 1929 reappraisal and transfer from Coccinellidae to Corylophidae (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea). Annales Zoologici 51 (3): 319-323.

[B04] Brown, B. V. 2004. Revision of the subgenus Udamochiras of Melaloncha bee-killing flies (Diptera: Phoridae: Metopininae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 140: 1-42.

[CSD10] Cardinal, S., J. Straka & B. N. Danforth. 2010. Comprehensive phylogeny of apid bees reveals the evolutionary origins and antiquity of cleptoparasitism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107 (37): 16207-16211.

[D59] Darwin, C. 1859. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life 1st ed. John Murray: London. (reprinted 1967. Atheneum: New York; 1968. Penguin Books: London)

[E01] Engel, M. S. 2001. A monograph of the Baltic amber bees and evolution of the Apoidea (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 259: 1-192.

[TM03] Teixeira, A. C. P., M. M. Marini, J. R. Nicoli, Y. Antonini, R. P. Martins, M.-A. Lachance & C. A. Rosa. 2003. Starmerella meliponinorum sp. nov., a novel ascomycetous yeast species associated with stingless bees. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53: 339-343.

[Z02] Zherikhin, V. V. 2002. Pattern of insect burial and conservation. In History of Insects (A. P. Rasnitsyn & D. L. J. Quicke, eds) pp. 17-63. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

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