3 years ago

Origin and distribution of desert ants across the Gibraltar Straits

Origin and distribution of desert ants across the Gibraltar Straits
The creation of geographic barriers has long been suspected to contribute to the formation of new species. We investigated the phylogeography of desert ants in the western Mediterranean basin in order to elucidate their mode of diversification. These insects which have a low dispersal capacity are recently becoming important model systems in evolutionary studies. We conducted an extensive sampling of species belonging to the Cataglyphis albicans group in the Iberian Peninsula (IP) and the northern Morocco (North Africa; NA). We then combined genetic, chemical and morphological analyses. The results suggest the existence of at least three and five clades in the IP and NA, respectively, whose delineation partially encompass current taxonomic classification. The three Iberian clades are monophyletic, but their origin in NA is uncertain (79% and 22% for Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood support, respectively). The estimation of divergence time suggests that a speciation process was initiated after the last reopening of the Gibraltar Straits ≈5.33 Ma. In the IP, the clades are parapatric and their formation may have been triggered by the fragmentation of a large population during the Pleistocene due to extended periods of glaciation. This scenario is supported by demographic analyses pointing at a recent expansion of Iberian populations that contrasts with the progressive contraction of the NA clades. Niche modeling reveals that this area, governed by favorable climatic conditions for desert ants, has recently increased in the IP and decreased in NA. Altogether, our data points at geoclimatic events as major determinants of species formation in desert ants, reinforcing the role of allopatric speciation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1055790317301355

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.