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Foucaud J.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Rey O.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Robert S.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Crespin L.,University of Lyon | And 10 more authors.
Evolutionary Applications | Year: 2013

Key evolutionary events associated with invasion success are traditionally thought to occur in the introduced, rather than the native range of species. In the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata, however, a shift in reproductive system has been demonstrated within the native range, from the sexual non-dominant populations of natural habitats to the clonal dominant populations of human-modified habitats. Because abiotic conditions of human- modified habitats are hotter and dryer, we performed lab experiments on workers from a set of native and introduced populations, to investigate whether these ecological and genetic transitions were accompanied by a change in thermotolerance and whether such changes occurred before establishment in the introduced range. Thermotolerance levels were higher in native populations from human-modified habitats than in native populations from natural habitats, but were similar in native and introduced populations from human-modified habitats. Differences in thermotolerance could not be accounted for by differences in body size. A scenario based on local adaptation in the native range before introduction in remote areas represents the most parsimonious hypothesis to account for the observed phenotypic pattern. These findings highlight the importance of human land use in explaining major contemporary evolutionary changes. © 2013 The Authors.

Foucaud J.,Montpellier SupAgro | Orivel J.,CNRS Biological Evolution and Diversity Laboratory | Loiseau A.,Montpellier SupAgro | Delabie J.H.C.,Laboratorio Of Mirmecologia | And 11 more authors.
Evolutionary Applications | Year: 2010

Biological invasions are generally thought to occur after human aided migration to a new range. However, human activities prior to migration may also play a role. We studied here the evolutionary genetics of introduced populations of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata at a worldwide scale. Using microsatellite markers, we reconstructed the main routes of introduction of the species. We found three main routes of introduction, each of them strongly associated to human history and trading routes. We also demonstrate the overwhelming occurrence of male and female clonality in introduced populations of W. auropunctata, and suggest that this particular reproduction system is under selection in human-modified habitats. Together with previous researches focused on native populations, our results suggest that invasive clonal populations may have evolved within human modified habitats in the native range, and spread further from there. The evolutionarily most parsimonious scenario for the emergence of invasive populations of the little fire ant might thus be a two-step process. The W. auropunctata case illustrates the central role of humans in biological change, not only due to changes in migration patterns, but also in selective pressures over species. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Kenfack D.,Smithsonian Institution | Tindo M.,Faculte Des Science Of Luniversite Of Douala | Gueye M.,Institute Fondamental dAfrique Noire
Adansonia | Year: 2014

Ant-plant interactions mediated by special structures provided by plants such as domatia, extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) and food bodies, are very frequent in tropical ecosystems. To understand why ants are frequently encountered on most species of Carapa Aubl. (Meliaceae), we investigated the presence of extranuptial nectaries (ENNs) in all 27 species of the genus, spanning its entire distributional range in tropical Africa and America. We report for the first time in the genus the occurrence of extrafloral nectaries (at the base of the petiole, along the rachis of the pinnately compound leaf, on bracts) petaline nectaries (on the outer surface of petals), and pericarpial nectaries (on the surface of fruits), and confirm the presence of nectaries on leaflets in Carapa. Petiolar nectaries are the most common, occurring in 85% of the species. Nectaries were mainly active in young developing plant organs. Ants were observed foraging on exudates from these nectaries. The secretions from these glands help to explain the abundance of ants on Carapa trees. Although similar nectaries were also found in other members of the subfamily Cedreloideae, their position and frequency provide new characters for the identification of Carapa species in the field and the herbarium. As in other myrmecophilous plants, ENNs probably confer adaptive advantages to Carapa trees. © Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

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