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Keywords:

  • AFLP markers;
  • ant–plant interaction;
  • Bayesian inference;
  • Leonardoxa;
  • myrmecophytism;
  • phylogeny

Abstract

Comprising four allopatric subspecies that exhibit various grades of ant–plant interactions, from diffuse to obligate and symbiotic associations, the Leonardoxa africana complex (Fabaceae, Caesalpinioideae) provides a good opportunity to investigate the evolutionary history of ant–plant mutualisms. A previous study of the L. africana complex based on chloroplast DNA noncoding sequences revealed a lack of congruence between clades suggested by morphological and plastid characters. In this study, we analysed phylogenetic relationships within the L. africana complex using a Bayesian probability approach on amplified fragment length polymorphism markers. The results reported permit partial validation of the four subspecies of L. africana previously defined by morphological and ecological markers. Incongruences between phylogenies based on chloroplast DNA and amplified fragment length polymorphism markers are discussed in the light of morphological and ecological data, and confronted with hypotheses of convergence, lineage sorting and introgression.