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The aculeate ancestry and evolution of the ants (Hymenoptera, Aculeata, Formicidae)

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Abstract

Ants are abundant, ecologically influential, and diverse eusocial Hymenoptera. The dominant narrative for their origin and radiation is that of E. O. Wilson and Bert Hölldobler, known as the “dynastic succession hypothesis”. Wilson and Hölldobler contend that the crown (= extant) ants originated during the peak of the angiosperm radiation, ~110–100 million years ago, and that post-K/Pg biodiversity recovery occurred in a sequence dictated by degree of social derivation. To address this hypothesis, we reconsidered the phylogenetic scope of the problem, and generated a large morphological dataset (576 characters for 575 taxa) which included extant species with ultra-conserved element (UCE) sequences and hundreds of fossils. These fossils represent a comprehensive sample of Mesozoic Aculeata, Trigonaloidea, Evaniomorpha (= Evanioidea), plus the enigmatic Jurassic taxa †Bethylonymoidea and †Ephialtitoidea. To test the geochronological prediction of the dynastic succession hypothesis, we combined the nucleotide and morphological data in a series of tip-dating analyses. To test the “scale of sociality” hypothesis, we conducted an MCMC estimation of ancestral states for all morphological characters on a distribution of trees from our best-supported analysis, with emphasis on those traits with social-behavioral correlates. Based on the results from our two-pronged test of the Wilson- Hölldobler hypothesis, we provide a reinterpretation of the origin and evolution of the ants, from the ancestor of the Aculeata to that of the crown Formicidae.
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Dates and versions

insu-02462615 , version 1 (31-01-2020)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : insu-02462615 , version 1

Cite

Brendon F. Boudinot, Ziad Khouri, Ziv Lieberman, Adrian Richter, Thomas van de Kamp, et al.. The aculeate ancestry and evolution of the ants (Hymenoptera, Aculeata, Formicidae). 104th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, Entomological Society of America, Apr 2020, Spokane, United States. pp.id# 151891. ⟨insu-02462615⟩
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