Bees of the family Halictidae (Apoidea: Anthophila) have three pairs of thick, bundled muscles that are circular to subcircular in cross section within the first metasomal segment, as revealed by micro-CT scanning of 16 species in 15 genera of five bee families. In nonhalictids and the basal halictid subfamily Rophitinae, these muscles are planar (flat and sheetlike), typically lying between the anterior air sacs and abdominal wall. In Nomiinae and Halictinae, these muscles, especially the dorsal-ventral pair, bulge into air-sac space, partly enveloped by air-sac membrane. A possible function may be to facilitate metasomal compression and contraction, and thus air flow. The bundled shape of these derived halictid muscles is similar to that of flight muscles, but further data is needed to determine if they are fibrillar, which would suggest a completely different function.
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Vol. 2019 • No. 3920