Phylogenetic analysis and trait evolution of ant cocoons

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution
Jordan A. GreerBiological Sciences Division, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Search for other papers by Jordan A. Greer in
Current site
Google Scholar
Corrie S. MoreauDepartments of Entomology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Search for other papers by Corrie S. Moreau in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Most ant species have lost the ability to spin cocoons. To explore the evolution of cocoon loss within Formicidae, we perform an ancestral state reconstruction of cocooned pupae across a genus-level phylogeny and use a sister clade analysis to determine the impact of cocoon evolution on ant speciation. Then, we fit models of correlated evolution between cocoon status and several other organismal traits. We find that the re-emergence of cocoons is rare and that “naked” lineages display an increased rate of speciation in 5 out of 9 sister group comparisons. Models of correlated evolution with cocoon status were favored for metapleural gland and worker polymorphism. Metapleural gland favored rates of evolution were inconclusive, while worker polymorphism displayed a higher transition rate towards polymorphism coupled with cocoon loss. These results suggest that cocoon loss may allow for other complex traits to develop and may represent a novel example of relaxed selection.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 461 461 81
Full Text Views 60 60 6
PDF Views & Downloads 90 90 8