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Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 973897, 9 pages
Research Article

Contribution of Cytogenetics to the Debate on the Paraphyly of Pachycondyla spp. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Ponerinae)

1Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Km 16 Rodovia Ilhéus-Itabuna, 45650-000 Ilhéus, BA, Brazil
2Laboratório de Mirmecologia, Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau (CEPEC/CEPLAC), Caixa Postal 7, 45600-000 Itabuna, BA, Brazil
3Laboratório de Citogenética de Insetos, Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 35570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
4Departamento de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Km 16 rodovia Ilhéus-Itabuna, 45650-000 Ilhéus, BA, Brazil

Received 16 June 2011; Accepted 29 July 2011

Academic Editor: Fernando Fernández

Copyright © 2012 Cléa dos Santos Ferreira Mariano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present evidence of the paraphyly of the ant genus Pachycondyla resulting from our cytogenetic studies on 29 populations in 18 species from Brazil and French Guyana. It is likely that karyotypes with a large number of chromosomes and comprising mostly small acrocentric chromosomes in species within the Pachycondyla stricto sensu group resulted from a succession of centric fission events. On the other hand, karyotypes with a small chromosome number comprising mostly metacentric chromosomes are also interpreted as little derived and tend to undergo centric fission. The karyotypes of the group Neoponera are more heterogeneous and probably undergo successive cycles of rearrangements tending to increase the chromosome number by centric fission. The apicalis and verenae complexes form two probable sister groups that evolved independently due to centric fissions (verenae) and pericentric inversions (apicalis). Our results reveal the karyotype diversity in the genus and reinforce the hypothesis on the paraphyly of Pachycondyla.