Characterization of polymorphic microsatellites in the giant bulldog ant, Myrmecia brevinoda and the jumper ant, M. pilosula

J Insect Sci. 2011;11:71. doi: 10.1673/031.011.7101.


The ant genus Myrmecia Fabricius (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) is endemic to Australia and New Caledonia, and has retained many biological traits that are considered to be basal in the family Formicidae. Here, a set of 16 dinucleotide microsatellite loci were studied that are polymorphic in at least one of the two species of the genus: the giant bulldog ant, M. brevinoda Forel, and the jumper ant, M. pilosula Smith; 13 are novel loci and 3 are loci previously published for the genus Nothomyrmecia Clark (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In M. brevinoda, the total of 12 polymorphic microsatellites yielded a total of 125 alleles, ranging from 3 to 18 with an average of 10.42 per locus; the observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.4000 to 0.9000 and from 0.5413 to 0.9200, respectively. In M. pilosula, the 9 polymorphic loci yielded a total of 67 alleles, ranging from 3 to 12 with an average of 7.44 per locus; the observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.5625 to 0.9375 and from 0.4863 to 0.8711, respectively. Five loci were polymorphic in both target species. In addition, 15 out of the 16 loci were successfully amplified in M. pyriformis. These informative microsatellite loci provide a powerful tool for investigating the population and colony genetic structure of M. brevinoda and M. pilosula, and may also be applicable to a range of congeners considering the relatively distant phylogenetic relatedness between M. pilosula and the other two species within the genus Myrmecia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Ants / genetics*
  • Dinucleotide Repeats*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic