Color lightness of velvet ants
Here, we address whether color lightness in velvet ants (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) responds to latitudinal gradients and bioclimatic variations, testing three ecogeographic rules: The Thermal Melanism hypothesis; the Photoprotection hypothesis; and Gloger's rule. We test these hypotheses across the New World. We used photographs of 482 specimens (n= 142 species) of female mutillid wasps and extracted data on color lightness (V). We analyzed whether variation in color is determined by bioclimatic factors, using Phylogenetic Generalized Least Square analysis. The results presented here provide the first evidence that abiotic components of the environment can act as ecological filters and as selective forces driving the body coloration of velvet ants.