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      Cryptic Diversity in Colombian Edible Leaf-Cutting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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          Abstract

          Leaf-cutting ants are often considered agricultural pests, but they can also benefit local people and serve important roles in ecosystems. Throughout their distribution, winged reproductive queens of leaf-cutting ants in the genus Atta Fabricius, 1804 are consumed as a protein-rich food source and sometimes used for medical purposes. Little is known, however, about the species identity of collected ants and the accuracy of identification when ants are sold, ambiguities that may impact the conservation status of Atta species as well as the nutritional value that they provide to consumers. Here, 21 samples of fried ants bought in San Gil, Colombia, were identified to species level using Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) barcoding sequences. DNA was extracted from these fried samples using standard Chelex extraction methods, followed by phylogenetic analyses with an additional 52 new sequences from wild ant colonies collected in Panama and 251 publicly available sequences. Most analysed samples corresponded to Atta laevigata (Smith, 1858), even though one sample was identified as Atta colombica Guérin-Méneville, 1844 and another one formed a distinct branch on its own, more closely related to Atta texana (Buckley, 1860) and Atta mexicana (Smith, 1858). Analyses further confirm paraphyly within Atta sexdens (Linnaeus, 1758) and A. laevigata clades. Further research is needed to assess the nutritional value of the different species.

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          Most cited references 46

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          The general stochastic model of nucleotide substitution.

          DNA sequence evolution through nucleotide substitution may be assimilated to a stationary Markov process. The fundamental equations of the general model, with 12 independent substitution parameters, are used to obtain a formula which corrects the effect of multiple and parallel substitutions on the measure of evolutionary divergence between two homologous sequences. We show that only reversible models, with six independent parameters, allow the calculation of the substitution rates. Simulation experiments on DNA sequence evolution through nucleotide substitution call into question the effectiveness of the general model (and of any other more detailed description); nevertheless, the general model results are slightly superior to any of its particular cases.
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            AWTY (are we there yet?): a system for graphical exploration of MCMC convergence in Bayesian phylogenetics.

            A key element to a successful Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) inference is the programming and run performance of the Markov chain. However, the explicit use of quality assessments of the MCMC simulations-convergence diagnostics-in phylogenetics is still uncommon. Here, we present a simple tool that uses the output from MCMC simulations and visualizes a number of properties of primary interest in a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, such as convergence rates of posterior split probabilities and branch lengths. Graphical exploration of the output from phylogenetic MCMC simulations gives intuitive and often crucial information on the success and reliability of the analysis. The tool presented here complements convergence diagnostics already available in other software packages primarily designed for other applications of MCMC. Importantly, the common practice of using trace-plots of a single parameter or summary statistic, such as the likelihood score of sampled trees, can be misleading for assessing the success of a phylogenetic MCMC simulation. The program is available as source under the GNU General Public License and as a web application at http://ceb.scs.fsu.edu/awty.
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              Phylogeny of the ants: diversification in the age of angiosperms.

               C. Moreau (2006)
              We present a large-scale molecular phylogeny of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), based on 4.5 kilobases of sequence data from six gene regions extracted from 139 of the 288 described extant genera, representing 19 of the 20 subfamilies. All but two subfamilies are recovered as monophyletic. Divergence time estimates calibrated by minimum age constraints from 43 fossils indicate that most of the subfamilies representing extant ants arose much earlier than previously proposed but only began to diversify during the Late Cretaceous to Early Eocene. This period also witnessed the rise of angiosperms and most herbivorous insects.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Insects
                Insects
                insects
                Insects
                MDPI
                2075-4450
                12 December 2018
                December 2018
                : 9
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Comparative Fungal Biology, Department of Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3DS, UK; E.Gaya@ 123456kew.org
                [2 ]Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA; bryn.dentinger@ 123456gmail.com
                [3 ]Department of Biology, University of Utah, 201 Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
                [4 ]Departamento de Biología, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Av. Ladrón de Guevara E11-253, Quito 17-01-2759, Ecuador; david.donosov@ 123456gmail.com
                [5 ]Centre for Social Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; jonathan.shik@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: p.kooij@ 123456kew.org
                Article
                insects-09-00191
                10.3390/insects9040191
                6316631
                30545104
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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