The ant genus Aphaenogaster Mayr is an ecologically diverse group that is common throughout much of North America. Aphaenogaster has a complicated taxonomic history due to variability of taxonomic characters. Novomessor Emery was previously synonymized with Aphaenogaster, which was justified by the partial mesonotal suture observed in Aphaenogaster ensifera Forel. Previous studies using Bayesian phylogenies with molecular data suggest Aphaenogaster is polyphyletic. Convergent evolution and retention of ancestral similarities are two major factors contributing to nonmonophyly of Aphaenogaster. Based on 42 multistate morphological characters and five genes, we found Novomessor more closely related to Veromessor Forel and that this clade is sister to Aphaenogaster. Our results confirm the validity of Novomessor stat. r. as a separate genus, and it is resurrected based on the combination of new DNA, morphological, behavioral, and ecological data.
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