Trap-jaw ants on Florida's sand ridges
Florida’s inland ridges are a series of sand ridges and bars located throughout Central Florida. Some of these ridges formed over 1 million years ago. The ridges resemble sand islands featuring a unique flora and fauna. Among their endemic inhabitants is the trap-jaw ant Odontomachus relictus It occurs on only two of these sand ridges (Lake Wales Ridge and Brooksville Ridge) and might be a relict species that has been isolated for about 1 million years or longer.
I study Odontomachus relictus to test if populations on each ridge have diverged given the amount of time they might have been isolated and subsequent consequences for conservation regimes. My work shows genetic divergence on the species level between ridges and strong isolation by distance patterns within ridges.