Towards a better understanding of the evolution of specialized parasites of fungus-growing ant crops

Sze Huei Yek, Jacobus J. Boomsma, Michael Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number239392
Number of pages11
JournalPsyche: A Journal of Entomology
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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