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Non-flying queen and aberrant queen-worker phenotypes in Hylomyrma Forel, 1912 (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Pogonomyrmecini)

Grant number: 15/06485-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Carlos Roberto Ferreira Brandão
Grantee:Mônica Antunes Ulysséa
Supervisor: Christian Paul Peeters
Host Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), France  
Associated to the scholarship:12/21309-7 - Taxonomic Review and Phylogenetic Analysis of the genus Hylomyrma Forel, 1912 (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Myrmicini), based on morphological and molecular data, BP.DR


Hylomyrma is a Neotropical ant genus that includes 13 described species that dwell in the leaf-litter and all with cryptic habits. The identity of several species is unclear due to very brief original descriptions, and very small type-series, in all cases less than three individuals. Recently, leaf-litter surveys employing Winkler Extractors have increased the representation of Hylomyrma in collections, especially workers, but also of Hylomyrma males, queens, and individuals that exhibit queen-worker phenotypes. Several species in Hylomyrma, either undescribed or currently recognized species, show a complex of queen-worker phenotypes that can be classified as non-flying queens or intercastes, which challenges species-level classification. The proposed internship is part of an ongoing taxonomic revision of Hylomyrma, my current doctoral project at MZUSP, and will be carried out at the Institut d'Écologie et Sciences de l'Environnement, Université Pierre et Marie Curie/UPMC, Paris, in collaboration with Dr. Christian Peeters, a renowned specialist in ant reproduction, functional morphology of queens, ant workers, non-flying queens and intercastes. Type-specimens of Hylomyrma will be examined at their repository institutions in the United States and several countries in Europe in order to accurately identify taxa currently ascribed to the genus. A reassessment of the morphological variation observed in individuals with queen-worker phenotypes will be performed at UPMC, and will focus on the delimitation of Hylomyrma species and its castes boundaries based on external and internal morphological characters, providing support for the genus phylogeny. (AU)

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