Author(s): Johnson RN, Agapow PM, Crozier RH
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Abstract The ant subfamily Formicinae is a large assemblage (2458 species (J. Nat. Hist. 29 (1995) 1037), including species that weave leaf nests together with larval silk and in which the metapleural gland-the ancestrally defining ant character-has been secondarily lost. We used sequences from two mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase 2) from 18 formicine and 4 outgroup taxa to derive a robust phylogeny, employing a search for tree islands using 10000 randomly constructed trees as starting points and deriving a maximum likelihood consensus tree from the ML tree and those not significantly different from it. Non-parametric bootstrapping showed that the ML consensus tree fit the data significantly better than three scenarios based on morphology, with that of Bolton (Identification Guide to the Ant Genera of the World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA) being the best among these alternative trees. Trait mapping showed that weaving had arisen at least four times and possibly been lost once. A maximum likelihood analysis showed that loss of the metapleural gland is significantly associated with the weaver life-pattern. The graph of the frequencies with which trees were discovered versus their likelihood indicates that trees with high likelihoods have much larger basins of attraction than those with lower likelihoods. While this result indicates that single searches are more likely to find high- than low-likelihood tree islands, it also indicates that searching only for the single best tree may lose important information.
This article was published in Mol Phylogenet Evol
and referenced in Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development