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Insects 2017, 8(4), 114; doi:10.3390/insects8040114

Reassessing the Chromosome Number and Morphology of the Turtle Ant Cephalotes pusillus (Klug, 1824) Using Karyomorphometrical Analysis and Observations of New Nesting Behavior

1
Departamento de Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente/ICEB, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais 35400-000, Brazil
2
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais 36570-000, Brazil
3
Programa de Pós-graduação em Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais 35400-000, Brazil
4
161 Ashridge Road, Darra, Queensland 4076, Australia
Present address: Programa de Pós-graduação em Genética, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná 80050-540, Brazil.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Breed
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract

Here we use karyomorphometrical analysis to characterize and evaluate the karyotype of the turtle ant Cephalotes pusillus (Klug, 1824). This is the first representative of this diverse ant genus to be cytogenetically studied. They bear a diploid chromosome set of 44 chromosomes, which, according to the centromeric index, are metacentric, submetacentric, and subtelocentric. This small ant is quite widely distributed in the Neotropics and seems to be well adapted to living in disturbed areas. Here we report the species nesting on dead trunks used to build fences at countryside houses and farms. On these nests, we observed some never reported behavior of C. pusillus: the ants appear to be able to dig by actively removing small fragments of dead wood fiber, hence expanding their nest cavities. It was not thought that Cephalotes species had this ability, given that they nest in preexisting cavities. Our observations are initial remarks that the small plier-like mandibles of C. pusillus may not be a constraint for this species, adding to our knowledge on ant nesting biology. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cephalotes; Cytogenetics; Formicidae; nesting; karyotype; Karyomorphometry Cephalotes; Cytogenetics; Formicidae; nesting; karyotype; Karyomorphometry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cristiano, M.P.; Pereira, T.T.P.; Simões, L.P.; Sandoval-Gómez, V.E.; Cardoso, D.C. Reassessing the Chromosome Number and Morphology of the Turtle Ant Cephalotes pusillus (Klug, 1824) Using Karyomorphometrical Analysis and Observations of New Nesting Behavior. Insects 2017, 8, 114.

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