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Data from: Defensive traits exhibit an evolutionary trade-off and drive diversification in ants

Citation

Blanchard, Benjamin D.; Moreau, Corrie S. (2016), Data from: Defensive traits exhibit an evolutionary trade-off and drive diversification in ants, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.st6sc

Abstract

Evolutionary biologists have long predicted that evolutionary trade-offs among traits should constrain morphological divergence and species diversification. However, this prediction has yet to be tested in a broad evolutionary context in many diverse clades, including ants. Here, we reconstruct an expanded ant phylogeny representing 82% of ant genera, compile a new family-wide trait database, and conduct various trait-based analyses to show that defensive traits in ants do exhibit an evolutionary trade-off. In particular, the use of a functional sting negatively correlates with a suite of other defensive traits including spines, large eye size, and large colony size. Furthermore, we find that several of the defensive traits that trade off with a sting are also positively correlated with each other and drive increased diversification, further suggesting that these traits form a defensive suite. Our results support the hypothesis that trade-offs in defensive traits significantly constrain trait evolution and influence species diversification in ants.

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