Data From: Shifts in morphological covariation and evolutionary rates across multiple acquisitions of the trap-jaw mechanism in Strumigenys
Anderson, Philip (2022), Data From: Shifts in morphological covariation and evolutionary rates across multiple acquisitions of the trap-jaw mechanism in Strumigenys, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2ngf1vhr5
A long-standing question in comparative biology is how the evolution of biomechanical systems influence morphological evolution. The need for functional fidelity implies that the evolution of such systems should be associated with tighter morphological covariation, which may promote or dampen rates of morphological evolution. I examine this question across multiple evolutionary origins of the trap-jaw mechanism in the genus Strumigenys. Trap-jaw ants have latch-mediated, spring actuated systems that amplify the power output of their mandibles. I use Bayesian estimates of covariation and evolutionary rates to test the hypotheses that the evolution of this high-performance system is associated with tighter morphological covariation in the head and mandibles relative to non-trap-jaw forms and that this leads to shifts in rates of morphological evolution. Contrary to these hypotheses, there is no evidence of a large-scale shift to higher covariation in trap-jaw forms while different traits show both increased and decreased evolutionary rates between forms. These patterns may be indicative of many-to-one mapping and/or mechanical sensitivity in the trap-jaw LaMSA system. Overall, it appears that the evolution of trap-jaw forms in Strumigenys did not require a correlated increase in morphological covariation, partly explaining the proclivity with which the system has evolved.
Images of Strumigenys ant species were downloaded from antweb.org. The images were loaded into ImageJ where linear measurments were taken. Detailed methods can be found in the associated publication.
NSF, Award: IOS 17-55336