Résumé : Biological diversity often arises as organisms adapt to new ecological conditions (i.e., ecological opportunities) or colonize suitable areas (i.e., spatial opportunities). Cases of geographical expansion followed by local ecological divergence are well described; they result in clades comprising ecologically heterogeneous subclades. Here, we show that the desert ant genus Cataglyphis likely originated in open grassland habitats in the Middle East ∼18 million years ago and became a taxon of diverse species specializing in prey of different masses. The genus then colonized the Mediterranean Basin around 9 million years ago. The result was the rapid accumulation of species, and the appearance of local assemblages containing species from different lineages that still displayed ancestral foraging specialties. These findings highlight that, in Cataglyphis, ecological diversification preceded geographical expansion, resulting in a clade composed of ecologically homogeneous subclades.