PLOS ONE2014-01-22 2:28 AM

Tracing the Rise of Ants - Out of the Ground 跟随蚂蚁爬出地面

Abstract
The evolution of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is increasingly well-understood due to recent phylogenetic analyses, along with estimates of divergence times and diversification rates. Yet, leading hypotheses regarding the ancestral habitat of ants conflict with new findings that early ant lineages are cryptic and subterranean. Where the ants evolved, in respect to habitat, and how habitat shifts took place over time have not been formally tested. Here, we reconstruct the habitat transitions of crown-group ants through time, focusing on where they nest and forage (in the canopy, litter, or soil). Based on ancestral character reconstructions, we show that in contrast to the current consensus based on verbal arguments that ants evolved in tropical leaf litter, the soil is supported as the ancestral stratum of all ants. We also find subsequent movements up into the litter and, in some cases, into the canopy. Given the global importance of ants, because of their diversity, ecological influence and status as the most successful eusocial lineage on Earth, understanding the early evolution of this lineage provides insight into the factors that made this group so successful today. 论文摘要 由于最近的系统发育分析,加之对变化次数和变化率的估计,蚂蚁(膜翅目:蚁科)的进化被越来越多地得以了解。 然而,关于蚂蚁祖先的栖息地的主要假设和最近新发现早期蚂蚁种群来自地下, 这一结论和原有的关于蚂蚁祖先栖息地的主要假设相冲突。 关于蚂蚁栖息地的进化,以及栖息地如何随着时间推移而产生的变化还没有被正式测试过。 这里,我们通过专门研究皇冠族蚂蚁的筑巢和觅食情况(在树冠层,枯枝落叶和土壤) , 重现了它们栖息地的进化。 根据对这些已有特征的重现,我们发现和现有的文献一致认为的蚂蚁从树冠层进化而来不同, 泥土才是所有蚂蚁的祖先的栖息地,之后它们一直迁徙到了树冠层,有些情况下甚至到了树顶层。 鉴于蚂蚁的多样性,对生态系统的影响和作为地球上最成功群居生物的地位,了解它们的早期进化为这一血统现在的成功的原因做出了一些解释。

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