Evol Ecol Res 3: 273-285 (2001)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Evidence for a cryptic species complex in the ant parasitoid Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae)

Shellee A. Morehead1* Jon Seger,1 Donald H. Feener, Jr.1 and Brian V. Brown2

1Department of Biology, University of Utah, 247 South, 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 and 2Entomology Section, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA

Address all correspondence to Shellee A. Morehead, Department of Biology, Bucknell Univesity, Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA.
e-mail: smorehea@bucknell.edu


Cryptic species complexes occur in many taxa, in particular in the insect order Diptera. Here we describe a possible new cryptic species complex in the family Phoridae. Three lines of evidence suggest that Apocephalus paraponerae, an ant parasitoid, is actually a complex of at least four genetically distinct but morphologically almost indistinguishable populations attacking at least three different ant hosts. First, the host-location cues used by A. paraponerae to locate two of the host species differ. Second, A. paraponerae attracted to these two ant host species differ consistently in average hind femur length and costal vein length, two measures of body size. Finally, mtDNA sequence comparisons of individuals from a variety of locations and host ant species indicate high sequence divergence between populations and low sequence divergence within populations. We discuss aspects of host location behaviour that may be important in cryptic species formation, and we speculate that many such cryptic complexes may exist in this family and others with similar mechanisms of host location and exploitation.

Keywords: Ants, Apocephalus, cryptic species, Ectatomma, host location, parasitoids, phorids, Paraponera.

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        © 2001 Shellee A. Morehead. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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