Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia.R. Ceará, S / N, Uberlândia, MG, Brazil
Received date: September 29, 2014; Accepted date: October 07, 2014; Published date: October 14, 2014
Citation: Nemésio A (2014) Euglossa amazonica (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossina) outside of the Amazon Basin: A Short Review. J Ecosys Ecograph 4:148. doi: 10.4172/2157-7625.1000148
Copyright: © 2014 Nemésio A. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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The knowledge on the geographic distributions of organisms is a key issue in biology, being useful, among others, for understanding biogeographic patterns and also for establishing conservation strategies. The so-called “range extensions” of many animal species [1-4] are thus important for those dealing with ecology and conservation of each particular species and the ecosystems where these species live in. As pointed out by Nemésio , these first records or range extensions can also indicate the dispersion or deliberate introduction of potentially invasive species, which theoretically may represent a threat to the new environment itself or to the native species living on this environment. As orchid bees (Apidade: Euglossina) are mostly forest-dependent insects [6,7] with a suggested role as bioindicators [8,9] first records or range extensions have been recently reported for some rare species [10-15] and even for potentially invasive species [16-18].
A recent paper by Hinojosa-Díaz  continued this tradition and reported the alleged first record of Euglossa amazonica Dressler, outside the Amazon Basin, based on two specimens captured in lowland areas in the western side of the Andes, one from Colombia and the other one from Panama. A thorough discussion on the biogeographic implications of these findings was then provided by Hinojosa-Díaz.
At this point it should be stressed, however, that Hinojosa-Díaz’s report is not the first and the only record of Euglossa amazonica outside the Amazon Basin. This species has been collected in central  and eastern Brazil (Nemésio) reviewed by Nemésio [21-24], including color photographs of one specimen and a distribution map), far from the Amazon Basin. It could be argued that Silveira’s master thesis is an unpublished work of difficult access and its omission from Hinojosa-Díaz’s work would be acceptable on this basis. On the other hand, the same cannot be said about Nemésio’s studies, published in well-established journals. Although unpublished, the findings by Silveira were also summarized by Nemésio and his record of Euglossa amazonica in central Brazil was accordingly plotted in the geographic distribution map provided by Nemésio.
These omissions are not only improper – since they give the reader the false impression that an outstanding fact has been discovered, in this particular case, that a species once believed to only occur in a given biome was unexpectedly found outside of it, when this fact had already been observed for the same species, although in other areas – but they also make Hinojosa-Díaz’s conclusions weaker and biased. The records of Euglossa amazonica in Colombia and Panama by Hinojosa-Díaz and in central and eastern Brazil by Silveira and Nemésio, together, suggest that it may be one of the few species in the genus with a wide distribution throughout the Neotropics, a feature emphasized by Hinojosa-Díaz but not realized by him for Euglossa amazonica. If Hinojosa-Díaz’s and Nemésio’s interpretations of this species are correct, it means that Euglossa amazonica occurs in the evergreen forests of Central America, in the tropical forests of lowland Colombia, in the Amazon Basin, in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil and in gallery forests immersed in a savanna matrix in central Brazil, showing a plasticity rarely observed among members of Euglossa. The alternative hypothesis is that we are facing a complex of cryptic species, as it was recently realized for Euglossa crassipunctata Moure , formerly believed to occur from Central America to eastern Brazil, but now known to be a complex of at least three species . Given the credentials and expertise of Dr. I. A. Hinojosa-Díaz, all the above discussion could be part of his original work have critical literature for this enterprise had not been omitted. The present publication would, thus, not be necessary.
It is important to note that it is not the first time that critical literature in the core of the area dealt with by Dr. Hinojosa-Díaz is omitted from his works on orchid bees. In a recent paper , it was stated: “The length of the labiomaxillary complex in E. decorata reaches the tip of the metasoma, although some females, most notably the specimen here examined from Minas Gerais, Brazil have a noticeably shorten labiomaxillary complex. Given that we could find no further distinguishing evidence, it is assumed here that these females belong to E. decorata although we note that further review of new evidence could reveal largely cryptic species requiring recognition”. Nevertheless, the specimen from Minas Gerais mentioned by the authors is a male and it was examined (upon request) and photographed by Dr. I. A. Hinojosa- Díaz himself! These photographs were published in Nemésio and this particular specimen was discussed by Nemésio et al.  and Nemésio, two studies dealing with Euglossa decorata Smith,  and not cited by Hinojosa-Díaz and Engel in a paper which main focus was the Euglossa decorata group, with the consequent incorrect conclusions outlined above.