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Author (up) Hartke, J.; Sprenger, P.P.; Sahm, J.; Winterberg, H.; Orivel, J.; Baur, H.; Beuerle, T.; Schmitt, T.; Feldmeyer, B.; Menzel, F. pdf  url
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  Title Cuticular hydrocarbons as potential mediators of cryptic species divergence in a mutualistic ant association Type Journal Article
  Year 2019 Publication Ecology and Evolution Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 9 Issue 16 Pages 9160-9176  
  Keywords environmental association; integrative taxonomy; niche differentiation; population structure; sexual selection; speciation  
  Abstract Upon advances in sequencing techniques, more and more morphologically identical organisms are identified as cryptic species. Often, mutualistic interactions are proposed as drivers of diversification. Species of the neotropical parabiotic ant association between Crematogaster levior and Camponotus femoratus are known for highly diverse cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles, which in insects serve as desiccation barrier but also as communication cues. In the present study, we investigated the association of the ants’ CHC profiles with genotypes and morphological traits, and discovered cryptic species pairs in both genera. To assess putative niche differentiation between the cryptic species, we conducted an environmental association study that included various climate variables, canopy cover, and mutualistic plant species. Although mostly sympatric, the two Camponotus species seem to prefer different climate niches. However in the two Crematogaster species, we could not detect any differences in niche preference. The strong differentiation in the CHC profiles may thus suggest a possible role during speciation itself either by inducing assortative mating or by reinforcing sexual selection after the speciation event. We did not detect any further niche differences in the environmental parameters tested. Thus, it remains open how the cryptic species avoid competitive exclusion, with scope for further investigations. © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.  
  Address Department of Evolutionary Animal Ecology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher John Wiley and Sons Ltd Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 20457758 (Issn) ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Export Date: 2 September 2019; Correspondence Address: Hartke, J.; Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research CentreGermany; email:; Funding details: Leibniz-Gemeinschaft; Funding details: Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Not Available; Funding details: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG, ME 3842/5‐1; Funding text 1: We thank Philippe Cerdan and Aurelie Dourdain for research permissions in the Hydreco Lab Petit Saut and the Paracou Research Station, respectively. Similarly, we thank Patrick Châtelet, Philippe Gaucher, and Dorothée Deslignes for permission to sample in the Les Nouragues Reserve. Further on, we thank Heike Stypa for supporting us in preparing the chemical samples. We thank Aidin Niamir for his helpful advice regarding climate data analysis. Financial support for this study was provided by the German Science Foundation (DFG) as a grant to Barbara Feldmeyer (FE 1333/7‐1), Thomas Schmitt (SCHM 2645/7‐1), and Florian Menzel (ME 3842/5‐1) and a grant managed by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (CEBA, ref. ANR‐10‐LABX‐25‐01) to Jérôme Orivel. The publication of this article was funded by the Open Access Fund of the Leibniz Association. 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