Molecular Phylogenetics and Taxonomic Revision of Ponerine Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae)
AuthorSchmidt, Chris Alan
AdvisorMaddison, David R.
Committee ChairMaddison, David R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractI report the results of the first detailed phylogenetic study of the ant subfamily Ponerinae, a diverse lineage whose properties make it an attractive model system for investigating social and ecological evolution in ants. Molecular sequence data were obtained from seven nuclear genes for 86 ponerine taxa, representing all three ponerine tribes, 22 of the 28 currently recognized genera, and 14 of the 18 informal subgenera of Pachycondyla, a genus strongly suspected to be non-monophyletic. Divergence dates, historical biogeography, and the origin of reproduction by gamergate workers were estimated on the inferred phylogeny. The most important results of this study include: (1) the monophyly of Ponerinae; (2) the paraphyly of Ponerini; (3) the extensive non-monophyly of Pachycondyla; (4) a rapid basal radiation in Ponerini; (5) resolution of many deeper relationships within Ponerini; (6) a rapid and rich basal radiation in the Odontomachus group; (7) an origin for Ponerinae in the upper Cretaceous, with a major burst of diversification near the K/T boundary; (8) a history of rich and continual ponerine diversification during the Cenozoic; (9) a history of regionalized radiations and frequent faunal exchange between major biogeographic provinces; and (10) support for multiple origins of gamergates in Ponerinae. Ponerine taxonomic classification is revised to reflect both these phylogenetic results and a reappraisal of ponerine morphological diversity. The monogeneric tribe Thaumatomyrmecini is newly synonymized under Ponerini, and the diverse genus Pachycondyla is fragmented into 15 genera, largely along the lines of its junior synonyms, though two new genera are erected: Buniapone (gen. nov.) and Mayaponera (gen. nov.). Some junior synonyms of Pachycondyla are transferred to junior synonym status under other genera: Wadeura as a junior synonym of Cryptopone (syn. nov.), Xiphopelta as a junior synonym of Pseudoponera (syn. nov.), and both Termitopone and Syntermitopone as junior synonyms of Neoponera (syn. nov.). Molecular and morphological justifications for these taxonomic changes are given alongside discussions of phylogenetic relationships. Keys to the world genera of Ponerinae are provided, and morphological diagnoses and species lists are given for each genus. Finally, the available information on ponerine ecology and behavior is reviewed and synthesized.
Degree ProgramInsect Science