Evolution of cuticular hydrocarbon diversity in ants

Van Wilgenburg, E., Symonds, M. R. E. and Elgar, M. A. 2011, Evolution of cuticular hydrocarbon diversity in ants, Journal of evolutionary biology, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 1188-1198.

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Title Evolution of cuticular hydrocarbon diversity in ants
Author(s) Van Wilgenburg, E.
Symonds, M. R. E.
Elgar, M. A.
Journal name Journal of evolutionary biology
Volume number 24
Issue number 6
Start page 1188
End page 1198
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication Oxford, U. K.
Publication date 2011-06
ISSN 1010-061X
1420-9101
Keyword(s) chemical communication
cuticular hydrocarbons
Formicidae
Hymenoptera
mode of evolution
nestmate recognition
phylogenetic comparative analysis
Summary The cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of ants provide important cues for nestmate and caste recognition. There is enormous diversity in the composition of these CHCs, but the manner in which this diversity has evolved is poorly understood. We gathered data on CHC profiles for 56 ant species, relating this information to their phylogeny. We deduced the mode of evolution of CHC profiles by reconstructing character evolution and then relating the number of changes in CHC components along each branch of the phylogeny to the length of the branch. There was a strong correlation between branch length and number of component changes, with fewer changes occurring on short branches. Our analysis thereby indicated a gradual mode of evolution. Different ant species tend to use specific CHC structural types that are exclusive of other structural types, indicating that species differences may be generated in part by switching particular biosynthetic pathways on or off in different lineages. We found limited, and contradictory, evidence for abiotic factors (temperature and rainfall) driving change in CHC profiles.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
060808 Invertebrate Biology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30039075

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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