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Adaptive radiation in socially advanced stem-group ants from the cretaceous

Published on Feb 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.19
· DOI :10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.060
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(RU: Rutgers University),
David A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
(CUNY: City University of New York)
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Abstract
Summary Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants [1], and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon [2, 3]. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry [4, 5]. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial [3], increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species [6, 7]. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Holldobler's concept of "dynastic succession."
  • References (40)
  • Citations (30)
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References40
Newest
Published on Feb 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.19
Michael S. Engel36
Estimated H-index: 36
(KU: University of Kansas),
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(RU: Rutgers University)
+ 1 AuthorsDavid A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
Summary A hallmark of animals that are eusocial, or those with advanced sociality, is reproductive specialization into worker and queen castes [1–3]. In the most derived societies, these divisions are essentially fixed and in some arthropods, include further specialization—a tripartite system with a soldier caste that defends the colony [1]. Eusociality has originated numerous times among insects but is believed to have appeared first in the termites (Isoptera), in the Early Cretaceous [4]. Howe...
24 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 23, 2014in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 10.88
Philip S. Ward1
Estimated H-index: 1
Originating most likely in the early Cretaceous, ants have diversified to become the world’s most successful eusocial insects, occupying most terrestrial ecosystems and acquiring a global ecological footprint. Recent advances in our understanding of ant evolutionary history have been propelled by the use of molecular phylogenetic methods, in conjunction with a rich (and still growing) fossil record. Most extant ants belong to the formicoid clade, which contains ∼90% of described species and has ...
41 Citations Source Cite
Published on Oct 1, 2014in Current Biology 9.19
Joseph Parker9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Columbia University),
David A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
Summary Myrmecophiles—species that depend on ant societies—include some of the most morphologically and behaviorally specialized animals known [1]. Remarkable adaptive characters enable these creatures to bypass fortress-like security, integrate into colony life, and exploit abundant resources and protection inside ant nests [2, 3]. Such innovations must result from intimate coevolution with hosts, but a scarcity of definitive fossil myrmecophiles obscures when and how this lifestyle arose. Here...
35 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Current Biology 9.19
Bo Wang17
Estimated H-index: 17
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Jes Rust16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of Bonn)
+ 13 AuthorsEdmund A. Jarzembowski11
Estimated H-index: 11
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Summary Paleogene arthropod biotas have proved important for tracing the faunal turnover and intercontinental faunal interchange driven by climatic warming and geodynamic events [1–5]. Despite the large number of Paleogene fossil arthropods in Europe and North America [5–8], little is known about the typical Asian (Laurasia-originated) arthropod biota. Here, we report a unique amber biota (50–53 million years ago) from the Lower Eocene of Fushun in northeastern China, which fills a large biogeog...
22 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 3, 2014in PLOS ONE 2.78
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History),
David A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
A new collection of 24 wingless ant specimens from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (Albian-Cenomanian, 99 Ma) comprises nine new species belonging to the genus Sphecomyrmodes Engel and Grimaldi. Described taxa vary considerably with regard to total size, head and body proportion, cuticular sculpturing, and petiole structure while all species are unified by a distinct shared character. The assemblage represents the largest known diversification of closely related Cretaceous ants with respect to spec...
15 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 7, 2014in eLife 7.55
Roberto A. Keller7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UPMC: Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University),
Christian Peeters33
Estimated H-index: 33
(UPMC: Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University),
Patrícia Beldade2
Estimated H-index: 2
(IGC: Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência)
The size and shape of an animal, known as its morphology, often reflect the actions it can perform. A grasshopper’s long legs, for example, are well suited to hopping, whilst the streamlined body of a dolphin helps swimming through water. These specialized features result from the interplay between morphology and behavior during evolution. A change in morphology can make new behaviors possible, which can then expose the animal to new environments and selective pressures that, in turn, can lead t...
26 Citations Source Cite
Published on Aug 1, 2013in Canadian Entomologist 1.21
Ryan C. McKellar12
Estimated H-index: 12
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History),
James R.N. Glasier1
Estimated H-index: 1
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Michael S. Engel36
Estimated H-index: 36
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
A new genus and species are described within the extinct tribe Haidomyrmecini, and tentatively placed within the subfamily Sphecomyrminae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Haidoterminus cippus new genus and species expands the distribution of the bizarre, exclusively Cretaceous, trap-jawed Haidomyrmecini beyond their previous records in mid-Cretaceous Burmese and French amber, and into Laurentia. The new material from the Grassy Lake, Alberta, Canada collecting locality also provides evidence that thes...
15 Citations Source Cite
Published on Aug 1, 2013in Evolution 3.57
Corrie S. Moreau22
Estimated H-index: 22
(FMNH: Field Museum of Natural History),
Charles D. Bell29
Estimated H-index: 29
(UNO: University of New Orleans)
Ants are one of the most ecologically and numerically dominant group of terrestrial organisms with most species diversity currently found in tropical climates. Several explanations for the disparity of biological diversity in the tropics compared to temperate regions have been proposed including that the tropics may act as a “museum” where older lineages persist through evolutionary time or as a “cradle” where new species continue to be generated. We infer the molecular phylogenetic relationship...
167 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 24, 2013in Zootaxa 0.99
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History),
David A. Grimaldi40
Estimated H-index: 40
A new genus of ants, Zigrasimecia Barden and Grimaldi, is described for a new and uniquely specialized species, Z. ton-sora Barden and Grimaldi n.sp., preserved in Cretaceous amber from Myanmar. The amber is radiometrically dated at 99 myo. Zigrasimecia is closely related to another basal genus of ants known only in Burmese and French Cretaceous amber, Sphecomyrmodes Engel and Grimaldi, based in part on the shared possession of a comb of pegs on the clypeal margin, as well as mandible structure....
18 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 7, 2013in Annual Review of Entomology 11.80
John S. LaPolla12
Estimated H-index: 12
(TU: Towson University),
Gennady M. Dlussky2
Estimated H-index: 2
,
Vincent Perrichot17
Estimated H-index: 17
(University of Rennes)
The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows anci...
66 Citations Source Cite
Cited By30
Newest
Published on Jul 11, 2019in bioRxiv
Ninon Robin (NJIT: New Jersey Institute of Technology), Cyrille A. D'Haese12
Estimated H-index: 12
(CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique),
Phillip Barden6
Estimated H-index: 6
(NJIT: New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Dispersal is essential for terrestrial organisms living in disjunct habitats and constitutes a significant challenge for the evolution of wingless taxa. Springtails (Collembola), the sister-group of all insects (with dipluran), are reported since the Lower Devonian and thought to have originally been subterranean. The order Symphypleona is reported since the early Cretaceous with genera distributed on every continent, implying an ability to disperse over oceans although never reported in marine ...
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Published on May 29, 2019in Biologia 0.73
Jan Hinkelman (SAV: Slovak Academy of Sciences)
Morphological insect-insect mimicry is known from few Cretaceous cockroaches and a beetle. Formicamendax vrsanskyi gen. et sp. n. (Blattaria, Alienopteridae) shows myrmecomorph features such as an elongated, smooth and black body, simple fenestrated hindwing, legs lacking protective spines. Elbowed or “geniculate “antenna is a typical character of advanced ants and weevils used for different forms of communication. Together with reduced mouthparts and specialized palps still preserved grasping f...
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Published on Apr 16, 2019in eLife 7.55
Yu-Lingzi Zhou1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Adam Ślipiński7
Estimated H-index: 7
(CSIRO: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
+ 1 AuthorsJoseph Parker9
Estimated H-index: 9
(California Institute of Technology)
Many animals live lives that are closely intertwined with those of other species. While a clown fish sheltering within the tentacles of a sea anemone may be a textbook example, ‘symbiotic’ interactions that occur inside ant nests are among some of the most dramatic. Known as myrmecophiles – after the Greek for ‘ant lovers’, many insects, spiders and mites have evolved to live alongside ants in one way or another. Some of these animals display elaborate behaviors – like mouth-to-mouth feeding or ...
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Published on Apr 14, 2019in Psyche: A Journal of Entomology
Stefano Cantone (UNESP: Sao Paulo State University), Claudio José Von Zuben12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UNESP: Sao Paulo State University)
In this study, we compare and analyze different ant taxa hindwing morphologies with phylogenetic hypotheses of the Family Formicidae (Hymenoptera). The hindwings are classified into three Typologies based on progressive veins reduction. This analysis follows a revision of the hindwing morphology in 291 extant and eight fossil genera. The distribution of different Typologies was analyzed in the two Clades: Formicoid and Poneroid. The results show a different distribution of Typologies, with a hig...
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Published on Mar 4, 2019in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 2.31
Taiping Gao10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Capital Normal University),
Chungkun Shih19
Estimated H-index: 19
(National Museum of Natural History)
+ 5 AuthorsDong Ren25
Estimated H-index: 25
(Capital Normal University)
Most cockroaches produce a special capsular structure, the ootheca, to enclose eggs for protection and maternal brood care. However, the origin and early evolution of the cockroach ootheca is poorly known, attributable to a lack of fossil evidence from the Mesozoic. Here, we report the earliest known cockroach fossil possessing an internally partitioned ootheca: Piniblattella yixianensis Gao, Shih & Ren sp. nov. is described from the mid Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China. The ootheca of...
3 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2019in Arthropod Structure & Development 1.84
Adrian Richter1
Estimated H-index: 1
(FSU: University of Jena),
Roberto A. Keller7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Lisbon)
+ 3 AuthorsRolf G. Beutel41
Estimated H-index: 41
(FSU: University of Jena)
Abstract Despite the ecological significance of ants and the intensive research attention they have received, thorough treatments of the anatomy and functional morphology are still scarce. In this study we document the head morphology of workers of the myrmicine Wasmannia affinis with optical microscopy, μ-computed tomography, scanning electron microscopy, and 3D reconstruction, providing the first complete anatomical treatment of an ant head with a broad array of modern techniques. We discuss t...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2019in Biologia 0.73
Peter Vršanský1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Lucia Šmídová3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Charles University in Prague)
+ 14 AuthorsXiaojie Lei1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Myrmecophilous and termitophilous interactions likely contributed to the competitive advantage and evolutionary success of eusocial insects, but how these commensal and parasitic relationships originated is unclear due to absence of fossil records. New extinct cockroaches of the still living family Blattidae are reported here from the Cretaceous Myanmar amber (99 Ma) and are the earliest known inhabitants of complex ant nests, demonstrating that this specialised myrmecophily originated shortly a...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2018in Nature Communications 11.88
Qing Liu1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Xiumei Lu3
Estimated H-index: 3
(CAU: China Agricultural University)
+ 5 AuthorsBo Wang17
Estimated H-index: 17
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Niche diversity of pollinating insects plays a vital role in maintaining extant terrestrial ecosystems. A key dimension of pollination niches refers to the insect proboscis length that commonly matches the floral tube length. Here we describe new kalligrammatid lacewings (an iconic Mesozoic pollinating insect lineage) from late Cretaceous Burmese amber and Mesozoic sediments in China. Kalligrammatids display complex configurations of elongate mouthpart elements consisting of well-developed maxil...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2018
Qi Zhang1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Qufu Normal University),
Alexandr P. Rasnitsyn13
Estimated H-index: 13
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)
+ 1 AuthorsHaichun Zhang20
Estimated H-index: 20
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract The Burmese amber assemblage of Hymenoptera with its 47 constituent families is now the richest in Cretaceous. A collection of Burmite (Burmese amber) from the Hukawng Valley, Myanmar at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences was examined, revealing that Burmite inclusions contain a very highly diverse hymenopteran fauna with as many as ten families found new for the Burmese fossil assemblage. The mid-Cretaceous hymenopteran fauna of Burmese ambe...
5 Citations Source Cite