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Data from: Phylogenomic inference and demographic model selection suggest peripatric separation of the cryptic steppe ant species Plagiolepis pyrenaica stat. rev.

Cite this dataset

Kirschner, Philipp et al. (2024). Data from: Phylogenomic inference and demographic model selection suggest peripatric separation of the cryptic steppe ant species Plagiolepis pyrenaica stat. rev. [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c866t1g9f

Abstract

The ant Plagiolepis taurica Santschi, 1920 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) is a typical species of the Eurasian steppes, a large grassland-dominated biome that stretches continuously from Central Asia to Eastern Europe and is represented by disjunct outposts also in Central and Western Europe. The extent of this biome has been influenced by the Pleistocene climate, and steppes expanded recurrently during cold stages and contracted in warm stages. Consequently, stenotopic steppe species such as P. taurica repeatedly went through periods of demographic expansion and severe isolation. Here, we explore the impact of these dynamics on the genetic diversification within P. taurica. Delimitation of P. taurica from other Plagiolepis species has been unclear since its initial description, which raised questions on both its classification and its spatiotemporal diversification early on. We re‐evaluate species limits and explore underlying mechanisms driving speciation by using an integrative approach based on genomic and morphometric data. We found large intraspecific divergence within P. taurica and resolved geographically coherent western and eastern genetic groups, which likewise differed morphologically. A morphometric survey of type material showed that Plagiolepis from the western group were more similar to P. barbara pyrenaica Emery, 1921 than to P. taurica; we thus lift the former from synonymy and establish it as separate species, P. pyrenaica stat. rev. Explicit evolutionary model testing based on genomic data supported a peripatric speciation for the species pair, probably as a consequence of steppe contraction and isolation during the mid‐Pleistocene. We speculate that this scenario could be exemplary for many stenotopic steppe species, given the emphasized dynamics of Eurasian steppes.

README: Phylogenomic inference and demographic model selection suggest peripatric separation of the cryptic steppe ant species Plagiolepis pyrenaica stat. rev.

https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c866t1g9f

Data description: Morphometric measurements are provided in Excel tables and geometric morphometry landmarks are provided as tps file. The corresponding methods and the character definition are provided in the Supplementary Material of the manuscript.

The file "workers_individuals.xlsx" contains raw data of morphometric measurements from individual workers of Plagiolepis pyrenaica and P. taurica.

Abbreviations: HYP=classification by traditional morphometry; nuDNA = classification by RAD sequencing

The file "Nest_sample_means_RAV.xlsx" contains per nest sample means of allometrically corrected morphometric data  of workers of Plagiolepis pyrenaica and Pl. taurica. LAT, LON, ALT = geographic latitude, longitude and altitude; HYP=classification by traditional morphometry; P(pyre) and P(taur) posterior probabilities in discrimiantn analysis; nuDNA = classification by  RAD sequencing

The file "Geometric_Morphometry_Plagiolepis_Kirschner_et_al.tps" contains raw landmark data. Position of landmarks are shown in Supplementary Material. The nest identifiers and the corresponding species hypotheses are provided in Supplementary Data 1 "TM Details". The letter following the nest identifier indicated the indiviudal speciment measured from the correpsonding nest.

Methods

Morphometric measurements are provided in Excel tables and geometric morphometry landmarks are provided as tps file.

The corresponding methods and the character definition are provided in the Supplementary Material of the manuscript.

Funding

FWF Austrian Science Fund

Austrian Science Fund, Award: P25955