Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Ward, P.S. & Sumnicht, T.P.

Year: 2012


Molecular and morphological evidence for three sympatric species of Leptanilla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the Greek island of Rhodes

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 17

Pages: 5-11

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: No


Ants of the genus Leptanilla have a broad distribution in the Paleotropical and southern Palearctic regions. Workers are eyeless, strictly subterranean and rarely encountered, whereas the males possess eyes and fully developed wings, and are collected with greater frequency in pan traps, in Malaise traps, and at lights. As a result of these circumstances a parallel taxonomy has developed for workers and males, with little or no attempt at integration of the two systems. Molecular markers have the potential to link the two sexes and permit reconciliation of the two taxonomies. Here we analyze a sample of fourteen Leptanilla males from a single site on the island of Rhodes, Greece, using morphology and Dna sequence data (ten nuclear genes; 8.6 kb of aligned sequence data). The two sources of data are fully concordant, and indicate the occurrence of three sympatric species. Phylogenetic relationships of these taxa and two other Leptanilla species are estimated using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood. Two of the species, Leptanilla GR01 and Leptanilla GR03 are sister taxa in these analyses, while Leptanilla GR02 is more distantly related. Within this sample we observe almost no intraspecific genetic or morphological variation, but there are substantial differences among the species. The divergent Dna sequences provide an opportunity to identify the corresponding workers of these Leptanilla species.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2012 The Author(s).

Key words:

Formicidae, Leptanillinae, Leptanilla, systematics, taxonomy, species delimitation, molecular phylogenetics, male ants.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: Print: 1994-4136 - Online: 1997-3500