Partner fidelity and environmental filtering preserve stage-specific turtle ant gut symbioses for over 40 million years

Yi Hu, Catherine D’Amelio, Benoît Béchade, Christian Cabuslay, Piotr Lukasik, Jon Sanders, Shauna Price, Emily Fanwick, Scott Powell, Corrie Moreau & Jacob Russell
Sustaining beneficial gut symbioses presents a major challenge for animals, Including holometabolous insects. Social insects may meet such challenges through behavioral symbiont transfer and transgenerational inheritance through colony founders. We address such potential through colony-wide explorations across 13 eusocial, holometabolous ant species in the genus Cephalotes. Through amplicon sequencing and qPCR, we show that previously characterized worker microbiomes are largely conserved across adult castes, that adult microbiomes exhibit strong trends of phylosymbiosis, and that Cephalotes...
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