Partitioned Bayesian tree based on a 50% majority rule consensus tree from the analysis of 1433 bp of the 18S rRNA and 28S rRNA gene fragments sequences of the selected Hymenoptera taxa. Scolebythus madecassus was used as an outgroup. Asterisks denote Bayesian posterior probabilities values: *, 95–98%; **, 99–100%. Maximum Likelihood Markov model (Mk1) ancestral state reconstruction describing the food load manipulation ability on the MrBayes topology: AtM (“able to manipulate” species, names in grey) vs. UtM (“unable to manipulate” species, names in black). Pie diagrams at each node indicate the proportion of the Maximum Likelihood supporting alternative reconstructed character states. Bars define Families and Superfamilies. Species names refer to the sample used to build the phylogenetic tree; for correspondence with the morphologically studied species, see Additional file 1: Table S2. Pictures show, from top to down, Polistes sp. (Vespidae) at nest, Ammophila sp. (Sphecidae) with prey and Bombus sp. foraging on flowers (Apidae).