The evolution and loss of complex behaviours in social insects: silk weaving and arboreal nesting in Polyrhachis ants

Robson, Simon K.A., Kohout, Rudy J., Beckenbach, Andrew, and Moreau, Corrie (2013) The evolution and loss of complex behaviours in social insects: silk weaving and arboreal nesting in Polyrhachis ants. In: Papers from the 9th ANeT International Conference 2013. From: 9th ANeT International Conference 2013, 28 October - 1 November 2013, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

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Abstract

To investigate the evolution of complex behaviours we derived phylogenetic hypotheses for the ant genus Polyrachis (based on 3 nuclear and 3 mitochondrial gene sequences from 37 Polyrhachis species representing all 13 subgenera and 5 outgroup species) and inferred the evolutionary history of nesting behavior and nest location using ancestral state reconstruction and correlation. The monophyly of the genus and all thirteen subgenera are supported, but one subgenus (Cyrtomyrma) appears nested within the Myrmhopla and sister to the mucronata group. In contrast to previous hypotheses nest-weaving via the use of larval silk is ancestral within the genus and strongly correlated with arboreal nesting habits. Transitions away from the ancestral state have occurred frequently, with ground nesting (which is strongly correlated with the lack of larval silk in the nest) evolving on at least 5 separate occasions. Larval cocoons (the ancestral state) have also been lost on at least two occasions, and most surprisingly, transitions back to arboreal nesting have also occurred, including the revolution of silk nests (albeit from spider rather than larval sources). Together, these patters show a remarkable flexibility in the evolution, loss and regaining of complex behaviours.

Item ID: 32328
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
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Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2014 04:35
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060304 Ethology and Sociobiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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