Project Title

Cuticle Structure Variation in Pogonomyrmex

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Clint Penick

IRB approval was not sought as there is no use of a human subject in this study.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The exoskeleton is a unique biological innovation that allowed insects to radiate and dominate the globe. Exoskeletons provide numerous functions such as desiccation and abrasion resistance, defense against predators, and internal structures to attach musculature. The surface of ant exoskeletons is unique as they display a huge diversity of textures and patterns. The function of this sculpturing is unknown, however recently, efforts have been undertaken to group textures based on their proposed function. In this study, we examine the genus Pogonomyrmex, whose cuticle structure is a consistent pattern. We measure the average ridge width of each species within the Pogonomyrmex genus to explore whether the width is consistent throughout the species. The resulting widths may help inform what the purpose of the striation is and support consistency for cuticle structure within an ant genus.

Project Type

Event

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Cuticle Structure Variation in Pogonomyrmex

The exoskeleton is a unique biological innovation that allowed insects to radiate and dominate the globe. Exoskeletons provide numerous functions such as desiccation and abrasion resistance, defense against predators, and internal structures to attach musculature. The surface of ant exoskeletons is unique as they display a huge diversity of textures and patterns. The function of this sculpturing is unknown, however recently, efforts have been undertaken to group textures based on their proposed function. In this study, we examine the genus Pogonomyrmex, whose cuticle structure is a consistent pattern. We measure the average ridge width of each species within the Pogonomyrmex genus to explore whether the width is consistent throughout the species. The resulting widths may help inform what the purpose of the striation is and support consistency for cuticle structure within an ant genus.