Michael G Branstetter

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Gaining a genomic perspective on phylogeny requires the collection of data from many putatively independent loci across the genome. Among insects, an increasingly common approach to collecting this class of data involves transcriptome sequencing, because few insects have high-quality genome sequences available; assembling new genomes remains a limiting(More)
In tropical wet forests, ants are a large proportion of the animal biomass, but the factors determining abundance are not well understood. We characterized ant abundance in the litter layer of 41 mature wet forest sites spread throughout Central America (Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and examined the impact of elevation (as a(More)
The stinging wasps (Hymenoptera: Aculeata) are an extremely diverse lineage of hymenopteran insects, encompassing over 70,000 described species and a diversity of life history traits, including ectoparasitism, cleptoparasitism, predation, pollen feeding (bees [Anthophila] and Masarinae), and eusociality (social vespid wasps, ants, and some bees) [1]. The(More)
We describe a new species of the Neotropical genus Leptanilloides, L. chihuahuaensis sp. n., based on male specimens from the Davis Mountains in western Texas. Known males of species of Leptanilloides are compared with L. chihuahuaensis. This is the first report of the genus from the United States and the Nearctic region. Previously, the Leptanilloides(More)
Stenamma is a cryptic "leaf-litter" ant genus that occurs in mesic forest habitats throughout the Holarctic region, Central America, and part of northwestern South America (Colombia and Ecuador). The genus was thought to be restricted primarily to the temperate zone, but recent collecting efforts have uncovered a large radiation of Neotropical forms, which(More)
Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses can enhance our understanding of multispecies interactions by placing the origin and evolution of such interactions in a temporal and geographical context. We use a phylogenomic approach-ultraconserved element sequence capture-to investigate the evolutionary history of an iconic multispecies mutualism: Neotropical(More)
Acropyga ants are a widespread clade of small subterranean formicines that live in obligate symbiotic associations with root mealybugs. We generated a data set of 944 loci of ultraconserved elements (UCEs) to reconstruct the phylogeny of 41 representatives of 23 Acropyga species using both concatenation and species-tree approaches. We investigated the(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)
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