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

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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
JournalPsyche (Cambridge, 1874)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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