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Summary. Nesting in abundance on stream embankments in the wet forests of Panama, the fungus-growing ant Cypho-
 

Summary: Summary. Nesting in abundance on stream embankments in
the wet forests of Panama, the fungus-growing ant Cypho-
myrmex longiscapus sensu lato has become a model organism
for the study of behavior, ecology, mating frequency, cultivar
specificity, pathogenesis, and social parasitism in the attine
agricultural symbiosis. Allozyme markers, morphology, and
other evidence indicate that C. longiscapus s.l. is in fact a
complex of two species, one of which is new to science and
described here as Cyphomyrmex muelleri Schultz and
Solomon, new species. Although both species occur sym-
patrically in the same microhabitats and are ecologically, be-
haviorally, and morphologically quite similar, they consis-
tently cultivate two distantly related fungal symbionts. Thus,
each of the two sibling ant species is specialized on a distinct
cultivar species, contradicting the conclusions of a previous
study. Information is provided for reliably separating the two
ant species; morphometrics, ecology, behavior, biogeography,
and natural history are summarized. Possible evolutionary
mechanisms underlying cryptic speciation in C. longiscapus
s.l. are discussed.

  

Source: Adams, Rachelle M. M. - Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Mueller, Ulrich G. - Section for Integrative Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin
Schultz, Ted - Curator of Hymenoptera, Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine