Ecological morphospace of New World ants
Article first published online: 13 APR 2006
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 131–142, April 2006
How to Cite
Weiser, M. D. and Kaspari, M. (2006), Ecological morphospace of New World ants. Ecological Entomology, 31: 131–142. doi: 10.1111/j.0307-6946.2006.00759.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2006
- Accepted 15 August 2005
- principal components analysis
Abstract. 1. Here the quantitative relationships between ecology, taxonomy, and morphology of ant workers are explored. The morphospace for worker ants taken from 112 genera and 12 subfamilies of New World ants is described.
2. Principal components analysis was used to characterise a morphospace based on 10 linear measurements of ant workers. Additionally, strongly covarying measures were removed to generate a simplified morphological space that uses three common and ecologically relevant traits: head size, eye size, and appendage length.
3. These morphological traits are then associated with diet and foraging substrate. For example, workers in predaceous genera tend to be small, with relatively small eyes and limbs; omnivores, while small, have proportionately large eyes and limbs. Ants that forage on surface substrates are larger and have proportionately larger eyes than subterranean foragers.