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Fungus-farming ("attine") ants are model systems for studies of symbiosis, coevolution, and advanced eusociality. A New World clade of nearly 300 species in 15 genera, all attine ants cultivate fungal symbionts for food. In order to better understand the evolution of ant agriculture, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed transcriptomes of four different(More)
All known fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) are obligately symbiotic with their cultivated fungi. The fungal cultivars of “lower” attine ants are facultative symbionts, capable of living apart from ants, whereas the fungal cultivars of “higher” attine ants, including leaf-cutting genera Atta and Acromyrmex, are highly specialized, obligate symbionts. Since(More)
Fungus-farming “attine” ant agriculture consists of five distinct agricultural systems characterized by a remarkable symbiont fidelity in which five phylogenetic groups of ants faithfully cultivate five phylogenetic groups of fungi. Across-system garden switching experiments result in colony decline and death, indicating that attine ant-fungus symbiont(More)
The evolution of ant agriculture, as practised by the fungus-farming 'attine' ants, is thought to have arisen in the wet rainforests of South America about 55-65 Ma. Most subsequent attine agricultural evolution, including the domestication event that produced the ancestor of higher attine cultivars, is likewise hypothesized to have occurred in South(More)
We report the rediscovery of the exceedingly rarely collected and enigmatic fungus-farming ant species Mycetosoritis asper. Since the description of the type specimen in 1887, only four additional specimens are known to have been added to the world's insect collections. Its biology is entirely unknown and its phylogenetic position within the fungus-farming(More)
The genus Sericomyrmex Mayr (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini) is a Neotropical group of fungus-farming ants known for its problematic taxonomy, caused by low morphological variability across the species, vague and old species descriptions, and an outdated and incomplete key published in 1916. Recent molecular studies revealed that Sericomyrmex is the product(More)
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