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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386166

Research Project: Sustainable Crop Production and Wildland Preservation through the Management, Systematics, and Conservation of a Diversity of Bees

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Title: UCE phylogenomics resolves major relationships among ectaheteromorph ants (Formicidae: Ectatomminae, Heteroponerinae): a new classification for the subfamilies and the description of a new genus

Author
item CAMACHO, GABRIELA - German Centre For Integrative Biodiversity Research (IDIV)
item FRANCO, WESLLY - Universidade Federal Do Parana
item Branstetter, Michael
item PIE, MARCIO - Universidade Federal Do Parana
item LONGINO, JOHN - University Of Utah
item SCHULTZ, THEODORE - Smithsonian Institute
item FEITOSA, RODRIGO - Universidade Federal Do Parana

Submitted to: Insect Systematics and Diversity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2021
Publication Date: 1/25/2022
Citation: Camacho, G.P., Franco, W., Branstetter, M.G., Pie, M.R., Longino, J.T., Schultz, T.J., Feitosa, R.M. 2022. UCE phylogenomics resolves major relationships among ectaheteromorph ants (Formicidae: Ectatomminae, Heteroponerinae): a new classification for the subfamilies and the description of a new genus. Insect Systematics and Diversity. 6(1):5. https://doi.org/10.1093/isd/ixab026.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isd/ixab026

Interpretive Summary: UCE phylogenomics resolves major relationships among ectaheteromorph ants (Formicidae: Ectatomminae, Heteroponerinae): a new classification for the subfamilies and the description of a new genus: Ants in the subfamilies Ectatomminae and Heteroponerinae, commonly referred to as “ectaheteromoroph” ants, include over 300 species and are found throughout most tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The group is diverse in form and function and are important as scavengers and predators in many environments. The systematics of ectaheteromorph ants has received scant attention and uncertainty exists regarding family relationships and the validity of recognized taxonomic groups. Using genome-scale molecular data from ultraconserved elements and a sampling of 130 different species, relationships among genera and species of ectaheteromorph ants were estimated. Based on the molecular results and analysis of morphology, the status of several taxonomic groups were re-defined and a new genus was described. The study improves taxonomic knowledge of the ectaheteromorph ants while also providing a robust predictive framework for future investigation.

Technical Abstract: Uncovering the evolutionary history of the subfamilies Ectatomminae and Heteroponerinae, or ectaheteromorphs, is key to understanding a major branch of the ant tree of life. Despite their diversity and ecological importance, phylogenetic relationships in the group have not been well explored. One particularly suitable tool for resolving phylogeny is the use of ultraconserved elements (UCEs), which have been shown to be ideal markers at a variety of evolutionary time scales. In the present study, we enriched and sequenced 2,127 UCEs from 135 specimens of ectaheteromorph ants and investigated phylogeny using a variety of model-based phylogenomic methods. Trees recovered from partitioned maximum likelihood and species tree analyses were well resolved and largely congruent. The results are consistent with an expanded concept of Ectatomminae that now includes the subfamily Heteroponerinae new synonym tribe Heteroponerini new synonym. Eleven monophyletic groups are recognized as genera: Acanthoponera, Alfaria status revived, Boltonia Camacho & Feitosa new genus, Ectatomma, Gnamptogenys, Heteroponera, Holcoponera status revived, Poneracantha status revived, Rhytidoponera, Stictoponera status revived and Typhlomyrmex. The new phylogenetic framework and classification proposed here will shed light on the study of Ectatomminae taxonomy and systematics, as well as on the morphological evolution of the groups that it comprises.