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Distribution and genetic divergence of two parapatric sibling ant species in Central Europe

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The two sibling ant species Temnothorax nylanderi and Temnothorax crassispinus are widely distributed throughout deciduous forests in Europe. Their resemblance in morphology and similar ecological requirements suggest that they evolved from the same ancestral species in different glacial refugia and re-immigrated into Central Europe after the last ice age. Here, we show that the two species are parapatrically distributed in south-eastern Germany and hybridize along a narrow contact zone close to the continental divide. Phylogeographical data based on the mitochondrial genes cytochrome oxidase subunit I and cytochrome b suggest that the dominant haplotypes for T. nylanderi and T. crassispinus might have diverged already 1.5–2 Mya. Intraspecific variability is extremely low in both species, which might be explained by severe bottlenecks during rapid postglacial expansion into Central Europe. © 2006 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2006, 88, 223–234.
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Keywords: Temnothorax crassispinus; Temnothorax nylanderi; allozymes; colony odour; glacial refugium; hybridization; morphometry; mtDNA; phylogeography; sibling species

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: LS Biologie I, Universität Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany 2: Staatl. Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz, PSF 300154, D-02806 Görlitz, Germany

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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