Highly similar microbial communities are shared among related and trophically similar ant species

  title={Highly similar microbial communities are shared among related and trophically similar ant species},
  author={Kirk E. Anderson and Jacob A. Russell and Corrie S. Moreau and Stefanie Kautz and Karen E Sullam and Yi Hu and Ursula Basinger and Brendon M. Mott and Norman Buck and Diana E. Wheeler},
  journal={Molecular Ecology},
Ants dominate many terrestrial ecosystems, yet we know little about their nutritional physiology and ecology. While traditionally viewed as predators and scavengers, recent isotopic studies revealed that many dominant ant species are functional herbivores. As with other insects with nitrogen‐poor diets, it is hypothesized that these ants rely on symbiotic bacteria for nutritional supplementation. In this study, we used cloning and 16S sequencing to further characterize the bacterial flora of… 

A Cross-Taxon Analysis of Insect-Associated Bacterial Diversity

It is suggested that host characteristics strongly regulate the colonization and assembly of bacterial communities across insect lineages, patterns that are driven either by co-evolution between insects and their symbionts or by closely related insects sharing conserved traits that directly select for similar bacterial communities.

Behind every great ant, there is a great gut

It is demonstrated that ants with similar trophic habits appear to have relatively conserved gut microbiomes, suggesting symbiont functions that directly relate to dietary preference of the ant host.

Dietary specialization in mutualistic acacia‐ants affects relative abundance but not identity of host‐associated bacteria

The lack of distinctiveness in bacterial communities across trophic level in this group of ants shows a remarkable ability to adjust to varied diets, possibly with assistance from these diverse ant‐specific bacterial lineages.

The structured diversity of specialized gut symbionts of the New World army ants

A broad phylogenetic and geographical survey of microbial communities in the ecologically dominant New World army ants showed that the microbial communities of army ants consist of very few common and abundant bacterial species, suggesting that army ant symbioses date back to the Cretaceous.

Correlates of gut community composition across an ant species (Cephalotes varians) elucidate causes and consequences of symbiotic variability

This study used 454 pyrosequencing and TRFLP to achieve goals in an herbivorous ant, Cephalotes varians, exploring variation in bacterial communities across colonies, populations and workers reared on different diets, and found core species were dominated by 16 core species present in over two‐thirds of the sampled colonies.

Dramatic Differences in Gut Bacterial Densities Correlate with Diet and Habitat in Rainforest Ants.

Supporting the hypothesis that microbial symbiosis is important to dominance in the canopy, it is found that the abundance of gut bacteria is positively correlated with stable isotope proxies of herbivory among canopy-dwelling ants, but not among ground-d Dwelling ants.

Variation in gut microbial communities and its association with pathogen infection in wild bumble bees (Bombus)

The results indicate that Bombus species have distinctive gut communities, and community-level variation is associated with pathogen infection.

Stability and phylogenetic correlation in gut microbiota: lessons from ants and apes

Correlation between gut microbiota and host phylogeny could reflect codiversification over shared evolutionary history or a selective environment that is more similar in related hosts. These

Dramatic differences in gut bacterial densities help to explain the relationship between diet and habitat in rainforest ants

Supporting the hypothesis that microbial symbiosis is important to dominance in the canopy, it is found that the abundance of gut bacteria is positively correlated with stable isotope proxies of herbivory among canopy-dwelling ants, but not among ground-d welling ants.

Conserved microbiota among young Heliconius butterfly species

The microbiota of 38 adult male and female butterflies representing six species of Heliconius butterflies and 2 populations of the same species were characterized, finding a low microbial diversity with few differences in the rare microbes between females, males, species or populations.



Bacterial gut symbionts are tightly linked with the evolution of herbivory in ants

The hypothesis that bacteria have facilitated convergent evolution of herbivory across the ants is supported, further implicating symbiosis as a major force in ant evolution.

Bacterial Associates of Arboreal Ants and Their Putative Functions in an Obligate Ant-Plant Mutualism

  • S. EilmusM. Heil
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • 2009
Bacteria may represent important further partners in ant-plant mutualisms, and their influences on ant nutrition can contribute to the extraordinary abundance and evolutionary success of tropical arboreal ants.

Bacterial microbiota associated with ants of the genus Tetraponera

The bacterial diversity associated with several representatives of three species groups of the arboreal ant genus Tetraponera was examined based on genes encoding 16S rRNA, citrate synthase and a structural protein of the dinitrogenase complex ( nifH).

Disentangling a rainforest food web using stable isotopes: dietary diversity in a species-rich ant community

This study demonstrates that stable isotopes provide a powerful tool for quantitative analyses of trophic niche partitioning and plasticity in complex and diverse tropical omnivore communities.

Antagonistic interactions between honey bee bacterial symbionts and implications for disease

The results suggest a tradeoff in social insect colonies between the maintenance of potentially beneficial bacterial symbionts and deterrence at the individual and colony level of pathogenic species, and point toward a potential control strategy for an important bee disease.

Nutritional and functional biology of exudate‐feeding ants

A more integrative understanding of ant diets, digestive anatomy, and associated microsymbionts helps to set out specific hypotheses to be tested experimentally and (where possible) in a phylogenetic context.

The ecology of the phyllosphere: geographic and phylogenetic variability in the distribution of bacteria on tree leaves.

The bacterial communities were organized in patterns predictable from the relatedness of the trees as there was significant correspondence between tree phylogeny and bacterial community phylogeny, a pattern that held even across continents where the authors observed minimal geographic differentiation in the bacterial communities on P. ponderosa needles.

Bacterial Diversity in Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis geminata Ant Colonies Characterized by 16S amplicon 454 Pyrosequencing

Overall, 16S amplicon 454 pyrosequencing appears to be a cost-effective approach to screen whole microbial diversity associated with invasive ant species.

Extraordinarily widespread and fantastically complex: comparative biology of endosymbiotic bacterial and fungal mutualists of insects.

The differences between fungal and bacterial endosymbiotic insect mutualists are explored and predictions about why a bacterium or fungus might be found associated with an insect host given particular ecological, physiological, or evolutionary conditions are made.

Metabolic Complementarity and Genomics of the Dual Bacterial Symbiosis of Sharpshooters

This study, which to the authors' knowledge is the first genomic analysis of an obligate symbiosis involving multiple partners, suggests striking complementarity in the biosynthetic capabilities of the two symbionts: B. cicadellinicola and S. muelleri, both isolated from H. coagulata.