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Taxonomic overview of the hyperdiverse ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in India with descriptions and X-ray microtomography of two new species from the Andaman Islands

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      Abstract

      With 600 described species, the ant genus Tetramorium represents one of the most species-rich ant radiations. However, much work remains to fully document the hyperdiversity of this remarkable group. Tetramorium, while globally distributed, is thought to have originated in the Afrotropics and is particularly diverse in the Old World. Here, we focus attention on the Tetramorium fauna of India, a region of high biodiversity value and interest for conservation. We overview Tetramorium diversity in India by providing a species list, accounts of all species groups present, an illustrated identification key to Indian Tetramorium species groups and notes on the Indian Tetramorium fauna. Further, we describe two new species, Tetramorium krishnani sp. n. and Tetramorium jarawa sp. n. from the Andaman Islands archipelago and embed them into currently recognized Tetramorium tonganum and Tetramorium inglebyi species groups. We also provide illustrated species level keys for these groups. Along with detailed species descriptions and high-resolution montage images of types, we provide 3D cybertypes of the new species derived from X-ray micro-computed tomography.

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      MicroCT for comparative morphology: simple staining methods allow high-contrast 3D imaging of diverse non-mineralized animal tissues

      Background Comparative, functional, and developmental studies of animal morphology require accurate visualization of three-dimensional structures, but few widely applicable methods exist for non-destructive whole-volume imaging of animal tissues. Quantitative studies in particular require accurately aligned and calibrated volume images of animal structures. X-ray microtomography (microCT) has the potential to produce quantitative 3D images of small biological samples, but its widespread use for non-mineralized tissues has been limited by the low x-ray contrast of soft tissues. Although osmium staining and a few other techniques have been used for contrast enhancement, generally useful methods for microCT imaging for comparative morphology are still lacking. Results Several very simple and versatile staining methods are presented for microCT imaging of animal soft tissues, along with advice on tissue fixation and sample preparation. The stains, based on inorganic iodine and phosphotungstic acid, are easier to handle and much less toxic than osmium, and they produce high-contrast x-ray images of a wide variety of soft tissues. The breadth of possible applications is illustrated with a few microCT images of model and non-model animals, including volume and section images of vertebrates, embryos, insects, and other invertebrates. Each image dataset contains x-ray absorbance values for every point in the imaged volume, and objects as small as individual muscle fibers and single blood cells can be resolved in their original locations and orientations within the sample. Conclusion With very simple contrast staining, microCT imaging can produce quantitative, high-resolution, high-contrast volume images of animal soft tissues, without destroying the specimens and with possibilities of combining with other preparation and imaging methods. Such images are expected to be useful in comparative, developmental, functional, and quantitative studies of morphology.
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        MicroCT for developmental biology: a versatile tool for high-contrast 3D imaging at histological resolutions.

         B D Metscher (2009)
        Understanding developmental processes requires accurate visualization and parameterization of three-dimensional embryos. Tomographic imaging methods offer automatically aligned and calibrated volumetric images, but the usefulness of X-ray CT imaging for developmental biology has been limited by the low inherent contrast of embryonic tissues. Here, I demonstrate simple staining methods that allow high-contrast imaging of embryonic tissues at histological resolutions using a commercial microCT system. Quantitative comparisons of images of chick embryos treated with different contrast agents show that three very simple methods using inorganic iodine and phosphotungstic acid produce overall contrast and differential tissue contrast for X-ray imaging at least as high as that obtained with osmium. The stains can be used after any common fixation and after storage in aqueous or alcoholic media, and on a wide variety of species. These methods establish microCT imaging as a useful tool for comparative developmental studies, embryo phenotyping, and quantitative modeling of development. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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          The worldwide transfer of ants: geographical distribution and ecological invasions

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Master’s Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program and National Centre for Biological Sciences , Bangalore, India
            [2 ]National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research , Bangalore, India
            [3 ]Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University , Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan
            Contributors
            ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3977-3775
            Journal
            PeerJ
            PeerJ
            PeerJ
            PeerJ
            PeerJ
            PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
            2167-8359
            20 September 2017
            2017
            : 5
            5610556
            3800
            10.7717/peerj.3800
            (Editor)
            © 2017 Agavekar et al.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

            Funding
            Funded by: Department of Science and Technology, Gov. of India
            Funded by: National Centre for Biological Sciences
            Funded by: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
            This work was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Gov. of India; National Centre for Biological Sciences; and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. GA, FHG, and EPE were supported by subsidy funding to OIST. GA was also supported by a WCS-NCBS Master’s fellowship and a DST Inspire Faculty Award (IFA-13 LSBM-64) to D. Agashe during this research. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Categories
            Biodiversity
            Entomology
            Taxonomy

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