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Molecular Ecology (2002) 11, 191195 2002 Blackwell Science Ltd
 

Summary: Molecular Ecology (2002) 11, 191195
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd
Blackwell Science Ltd
Extensive exchange of fungal cultivars between sympatric
species of fungus-growing ants
A. M. GREEN, U. G. MUELLER and R. M. M. ADAMS
Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin TX 78712, USA
Abstract
Fungal cultivars of fungus-growing ants (Attini, Formicidae) are carried by dispersing queens
from parent to offspring nest. This vertical cultivar transmission between generations is
thought to result in long-term ant-fungus coevolution and selection for beneficial cultivar
traits that maximize harvests and thus colony productivity. In contrast to this traditional
view of vertical cultivar transmission, frequent horizontal cultivar transmission between ant
species is implicated by a phylogenetic analysis of 72 cultivars propagated by two fungus-
growing ant species coexisting sympatrically in central Panama. The two ant species are
specialized on the same group of closely related cultivars, but in six of 12 cultivar clades
identifiable within this group, cultivars from both ant species were united in the same
clade. Five of these `mixed' clades were supported by bootstrap values of about 90% or higher.
In one instance, colonies from the two ant species cultivated the same, genetically identical,
cultivar clone. These phylogenetic patterns indicate that: (i) cultivar exchanges between the

  

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