International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Body size evolution and diversification in ants (Formicidae)

Author(s):
Michael Rivera, Michael Rivera , Andrew Suarez
Institution(s):
Program in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA; Program in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA ; Program in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Ants are an ecologically successful group with much of that success attributed to variation in the worker caste. Morphologically variable workers are said to occur in ~15% of ant species, yet despite a rich phylogenetic history there has been no large-scale study of how worker variation has evolved across the Formicidae. Using phylogenetic analysis, we test the hypothesis that morphologically variable workers are an adaptive trait that predicts leads into increases in diversification rates. Additionally, using a multivariate measure of worker body size (taking into account potential variation in worker size) we are analyzing how eusociality may affect the evolution of body size compared to solitary organisms. 
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