Specimen Request: Simopelta Army Ants

Simopelta nr. pergandei, Venezuela

Simopelta sp. nr. pergandei, Venezuela

I've just started a project in collaboration with Daniel Kronauer, Jack Longino, and Andy Suarez to infer the phylogeny of species in the Neotropical ponerine genus Simopelta.  If you happen to have any DNA-quality specimens of these unusual ants in your keep, we'd greatly appreciate a donation.

Why Simopelta?  These insects are among the "other" army ants, the barely-known lineages that have also evolved the specialized nomadic lifestyle that characterizes the well-known, photogenic, and oft-televised ecitonine and doryline army ants.  Yet Simopelta are ponerines, a completely different subfamily of ants.   Because they acquired their traits independently, Simopelta will add power to statistical tests of various hypotheses about how army ants came to be.  That, and they're really interesting critters in their own right.

Ideally, specimens will have been collected into strong (>90%) ethanol and stored in a cool place, but these ants are rare enough that we'll take whatever we can get.  Send to:

Alex Wild

Department of Entomology

320 Morrill Hall

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

505 S Goodwin Ave

Urbana, IL 61801 USA

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