A revisionary study of Trachymyrmex zeteki (Formicidae: Attini) and description of a new species, Trachymyrmex fovater sp. n.
Advisor:Adams, Rachelle M. M.
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Series/Report no.:2016 Fall Undergraduate Research Student Poster Forum. 10th
Fungus-growing ants are ubiquitous Neotropical insects with impressive diversity and fascinating evolutionary history. For 65 million years, ca. 250 species of fungus-growing ants have been refining their agricultural practices for their fungal symbiont. Trachymyrmex zeteki has been confused with a sister species due to confounding species descriptions and nearly identical morphological characteristics. This research resolves this taxonomic conundrum by describing Trachymyrmex fovater sp. n. We examined 40 different colonies (n=12 T. zeteki and n=28 T. fovater sp. n.) using nine measurements, five extrapolated indices, 13 external morphological characters, and molecular data. We found compelling morphological differences between the castes of the two species and our phylogenetic inference supports our findings. We highlight how T. fovater sp. n. has mistakenly been called T. zeteki (or correctly T. cf. zeteki) and discuss how our work provides clarity.
Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Academic Major: Entomology
The Ohio State University Undergraduate Research Office, Summer Research Fellowship Grant
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