Data from: Macroecology and macroevolution of the latitudinal diversity gradient in ants
Economo, Evan P. et al. (2019), Data from: Macroecology and macroevolution of the latitudinal diversity gradient in ants, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g579t7k
The latitudinal diversity gradient—the tendency for more species to occur toward the equator—is the dominant pattern of life on Earth, yet the mechanisms responsible for it remain largely unexplained. Recently, the analysis of global data has led to advances in understanding, but these advances have been mostly limited to vertebrates and trees and have not provided consensus answers. Here, we synthesize large-scale geographic, phylogenetic, and fossil data for an exemplar invertebrate group—ants—and investigate whether the latitudinal diversity gradient arose due to higher rates of net diversification in the tropics, or due to a longer time period to accumulate diversity due to Earth’s climatic history. We find that latitudinal affinity is highly conserved, temperate clades are young and clustered within tropical clades, and diversification rate shows no systematic variation with latitude. These results indicate that diversification time —and not rate— is the main driver of the diversity gradient in ants.