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Association between host wing morphology polymorphism and Wolbachia infection in Vollenhovia emeryi (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae)
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  • Pureum Noh,
  • Seung-Yoon Oh,
  • Soyeon Park,
  • Taesung Kwon,
  • Yonghwan Kim,
  • Jae Chun Choe,
  • Gilsang Jeong
Pureum Noh
Ewha Womans University
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Seung-Yoon Oh
Seoul National University School of Biological Sciences
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Soyeon Park
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Taesung Kwon
Korea Forest Research Institute
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Yonghwan Kim
Konkuk University
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Jae Chun Choe
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Gilsang Jeong
National Institute of Ecology
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Abstract

Many eusocial insects, including ants, show complex colony structures, distributions, and reproductive strategies. In the ant Vollenhovia emeryi Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae), queens and males are produced clonally, while sterile workers arise sexually, unlike other ant species and Hymenopteran insects in general. Furthermore, there is a wing length polymorphism in the queen caste. Despite its ecological and evolutionary importance, little is known about the population dynamics and structure of this ant species, which may provide insight into its unique reproductive mode and polymorphic traits. We performed in-depth analyses of ant populations from Korea, Japan, and North America using three mitochondrial genes (COI, COII, and Cytb). The long-winged (L) morph is predominant in Korean populations, and the short-winged (S) morph is very rare. Interestingly, all L morphs were infected with Wolbachia, while all Korean S morphs lacked Wolbachia, demonstrating a novel association between a symbiont and a phenotypic trait. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the S morph is derived from the L morph. We propose that the S morph is associated with potential resistance to Wolbachia infection, and that Wolbachia infection does not influence clonal reproduction.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

02 Mar 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
03 Mar 2020Submission Checks Completed
03 Mar 2020Assigned to Editor
12 Mar 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Apr 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Apr 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
15 May 20201st Revision Received
15 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
15 May 2020Assigned to Editor
15 May 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 May 2020Editorial Decision: Accept