A macro- and micro-evolutionary investigation of African Camponotus ants

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Camponotus than the cytochrome oxidase II gene, based on almost all measures of phylogenetic utility. The primary hypothesis proposed to account for this observation is that these two mitochondrial genes are evolving under different evolutionary constraints. Specifically, the cytochrome oxidase II gene displays greater rate heterogeneity than the cytochrome b gene, thereby decreasing its utility for phylogenetic analyses. Combining sequence data from both genes resulted in more robust phylogenetic hypotheses, with the combined topologies displaying greater congruence with the cytochrome b topologies than those based on cytochrome oxidase II sequence data. The morphological data produced a topology that was congruent with that obtained from molecular data, and provided increased support for certain nodes in the context of a combined molecular-morphological framework. The hypothesis that subgeneric classifications within Camponotus do not accurately reflect phylogenetic relationships was supported by the molecular phylogenies. An exception to this hypothesis was the monophyly of the subgenus Myrmosericus, based on cytochrome b data. The morphological and behavioural data provided support for a monophyletic group comprising the four species assigned to the subgenus Myrmopiromis. However, although these four species associated together in a group based on combined cytochrome oxidase II and cytochrome b sequences, this group was paraphyletic in the combined molecular topology, with two species in subgenus Myrmopsamma also falling within this group.

Bibliography: leaves 213-233.