Discuss the origin and significance of diversity within and between species in a named taxonomic group of your choice(Ants).

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IntroductionAnts Formīca are arguably the most successful organisms presently on earth. They evolved from a wasp like common ancestor approximately 150 million years ago(2006 Chuck Lydeard)1. Due to their long ecological dominancy amongst insect and short life span they have undergone a high rate of adaptive radiation. Leading to a reasonably large amount of species and inter- species diversity. There are at least 12000 different species of Formicidae (2008 Edward O. Wilson)2 which have colonised almost every landmass on the planet(Alice S. Jones 2006)3 This unique dominancy and prevalence means that Ants presently account for an incomparable 15 to 20%(2000 Ted R. Schultz)4,3 of the world's terrestrial animal biomass. Formīca exhibit…show more content…
These genetic changes are small a change in one gene which can, for instance, decide whether a colony has one or multiple queens. However in most cases all ants start with the same genes with the exception of males. Ants generally have 4 development stages, egg, larva, pupa and adult(2002 Myrm)10. The larvae (see figure 3) are only capable of some minor movement, such as bending their head toward a food source. It is in the larval stage where differing the level of care and nourishment leads to different development pathways. When resources are low most larvae will develop into sterile female workers. Only if the developed colony has an abundant food supply will worker ants map selected larvae using pheromones. These then receive better nourishment than others which triggers select genes to activate(1978 Edward O. Wilson.)11 These larvae develop into, normally winged, sexually mature female ants (See figure 4)which leave to find a male (Drone) and start a new colony. In some colonies for whatever reason there is no queen; in this case a female worker (all ants apart from drones are female) becomes fertile and lays fertile eggs. The Queens main role is to allow gene flow in the gene pool. She mates with one or more males from other colonies before starting her own. This is the only sexual interaction between ants from different colonies. This important role exhibits the significance of variation within a species. Diversity within

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