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      The Rubens morph of Formica exsecta Nylander, 1846 and its separation from Formica fennica Seifert, 2000 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

      Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          A study of numeric morphology-based alpha-taxonomy (NUMOBAT) considering the species Formica exsecta Nylander, 1846 and F. fennica Seifert, 2000 was performed in 166 nest samples with 485 worker individuals originating from 117 localities of the Palaearctic west of 59°E. The presence of intraspecific pilosity dimorphism is shown for F. exsecta. The setae-reduced phenotype, termed the Rubens morph, shows a frequency of about 25%, and the more abundant setae-rich phenotype, termed the Normal morph, one of 75%. The frequency of nests containing workers of both phenotypes is 15.5% in 58 samples from Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. Applying the DIMORPH test of Seifert (2016) on this territory, it is demonstrated that the association of Rubens and Normal phenotypes within the same nest cannot be interpreted as parabiosis of independent species (p=0.017) or as temporary (p=0.0004) and permanent (p=0.0001) socially parasitic association, whereas genetically mediated intraspecific dimorphism is most likely (p=0.659, all p data according to Fisher’s exact test). The Rubens morph of F. exsecta is phenotypically most similar to F. fennica but is safely separable by four different forms of exploratory data analyses using nest centroids (NC) as input data: NC-Ward, NC-part.hclust, NC-part.kmeans, and NC-NMDS-k-means. Data on zoogeography and the narrow climate niche indicate that F. fennica is unlikely to occur in Norway.

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          A multisource solution for a complex problem in biodiversity research: Description of the cryptic ant species Tetramorium alpestre sp.n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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            Diagnostic survey of Malagasy Nesomyrmex species-groups and revision of hafahafa group species via morphology based cluster delimitation protocol

            Abstract Madagascar and its surrounding islands are among the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots, harboring predominantly endemic and threatened communities meriting special attention from biodiversity scientists. Building on the considerable efforts in recent years to inventory the Malagasy ant fauna, the myrmicine genus Nesomyrmex is reviewed and (1) subdivided into four major groups based on salient morphological features corroborated by numeric morphology: angulatus -, hafahafa -, madecassus - and sikorai -groups, and (2) the hafahafa species-group endemic to Madagascar is revised. Diversity within hafahafa species-group was assessed via hypothesis-free nest-centroid-clustering combined with gap statistic to assess the number of clusters and to determine the most probable boundaries between them. This combination of methods provides a highly automatized, objective species delineation protocol based on continuous morphometric data. Delimitations of clusters recognized by these exploratory analyses were tested via confirmatory Linear Discriminant Analysis. These results suggest the existence of four morphologically distinct species, Nesomyrmex capricornis sp. n., Nesomyrmex hafahafa sp. n., Nesomyrmex medusus sp. n. and Nesomyrmex spinosus sp. n.; all are described and an identification key for their worker castes using morphometric data is provided. Two members of the newly outlined hafahafa species-group, Nesomyrmex hafahafa sp. n., Nesomyrmex medusus sp. n., are distributed along the southeastern coast Madagascar and occupy rather large ranges, but two other species, Nesomyrmex capricornis sp. n. and Nesomyrmex spinosus sp. n., are only known to occur in small and isolated forest, highlighting the importance of small forest patches for conserving arthropod diversity.
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              Genetic analysis reveals Finnish Formica fennica populations do not form a separate genetic entity from F. exsecta

              Coptoformica Müller, 1923 is a subgenus of Formica Linnaeus, 1758 that consists of c. a dozen species of ants that typically inhabit open grassy habitats and build small nest mounds. The most recent addition to the group is Formica fennica Seifert, 2000. The description was based on morphological characters, but the species status has not been confirmed by molecular methods. In this study, we use thirteen DNA microsatellite markers and a partial mitochondrial COI gene sequence to assess the species status of F. fennica, by comparing the genetic variation among samples identified as F. fennica and six other boreal Formica (Coptoformica) species. Most of the species studied form separate, discontinuous clusters in phylogenetic and spatial analyses with only little intraspecific genetic variation. However, both nuclear and mitochondrial markers fail to separate the species pair F. exsecta Nylander, 1846 and F. fennica despite established morphological differences. The genetic variation within the F. exsecta/fennica group is extensive, but reflects spatial rather than morphological differences. Finnish F. fennica populations studied so far should not be considered a separate species, but merely a morph of F. exsecta.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift
                DEZ
                Pensoft Publishers
                1860-1324
                1435-1951
                May 29 2019
                May 29 2019
                : 66
                : 1
                : 55-61
                Article
                10.3897/dez.66.34868
                © 2019

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