Fungus-growing ants have interacted and partly coevolved with specialised microfungal parasites of the genus Escovopsis since the origin of ant fungiculture about 50 million years ago. Here, we review the recent progress in understanding the patterns of specificity of this ant-parasite association, covering both the colony/population level and comparisons between phylogenetic clades. We use a modified version of Tinbergen's four categories of evolutionary questions to structure our review in complementary approaches addressing both proximate questions of development and mechanism, and ultimate questions of (co)adaptation and evolutionary history. Using the same scheme, we identify future research questions that are likely to be particularly illuminating for understanding the ecology and evolution of Escovopsis parasitism of the cultivar maintained by fungus-growing ants.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Psyche: A Journal of Entomology|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|