Present address: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Molecular markers allow sibling species identification in red wood ants (Formica rufa group)
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 243–249, April 2010
How to Cite
BERNASCONI, C., PAMILO, P. and CHERIX, D. (2010), Molecular markers allow sibling species identification in red wood ants (Formica rufa group). Systematic Entomology, 35: 243–249. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3113.2009.00503.x
- Issue published online: 15 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2010
- Accepted 10 August 2009, First published online 14 January 2010
Red wood ants (Formica rufa group) constitute a group of species that are considered to be among the most promising bioindicators in forest ecosystems. However, because of their morphological similarity and intraspecific variability, morphological species identification can be difficult. Considerable expertise is necessary to discriminate between the sibling species F. lugubris and F. paralugubris, two species that often live in sympatry in the same Alpine forests. New taxonomic tools providing rapid and reliable species identification are needed. We present a simple and reliable molecular technique based on mtDNA (COI gene) and a restriction enzyme for discriminating between F. lugubris and F. paralugubris. We confirm the validity of this method with a Bayesian analysis based on microsatellites. This new molecular tool represents a clear breakthrough for discriminating between F. lugubris and F. paralugubris and is likely to be helpful in large-scale biomonitoring.