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Megalopta is a neotropical genus of 26 named species. It is of special interest to students of social biology because it contains many facultatively social species, nesting both solitarily and socially in the same population. This social polymorphism provides an opportunity to directly compare the dynamics and fitness outcomes of social and solitary nesting. The best known species, M. genalis, has been studied intensively on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. What little is known about other Megalopta species suggests they have broadly similar biology.
General Biology and Phylogenetic Placement
Megalopta is part of the tribe Augochlorini (Halictidae) which contains social, solitary, and socially polymorphic species . Megalopta is closely related to the genus Xenochlora, which I treat here as a separate lineage. However further phylogenetic study may show that it belongs in Megalopta. Like (the rest of) Megalopta, Xenochloranests in dead sticks and is socially flexible, but in...
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