Oak gallwasps (Hymenoptera; Cynipidae, tribe Cynipini) are cyclically parthenogenetic insects that induce galls on specific plant hosts in the family Fagaceae. Understanding the processes underlying the evolution of specific oak associations requires knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships among oak gallwasp genera. Although three major lineages of oak gallwasps have been identified, the status and relationships of several species-poor but biologically significant genera remain unresolved. Two such genera are Chilaspis and Dryocosmus, whose western palaearctic species all gall oaks in the section Cerris. Dryocosmus is particularly significant biologically because it includes: (a) the only palaearctic gallwasp to gall chestnuts, Castanea, and (b) nearctic species. The oak section Cerris is wholly absent from the nearctic, and the relationship between palaearctic and nearctic Dryocosmus is significant for patterns of host plant evolution in the tribe as a whole. We examined the relationships between Chilaspis, Dryocosmus and other oak cynipid genera using cladograms from sequence data for two mitochondrial loci (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and cytochrome b) and two nuclear loci (the 28S ribosomal gene regions D2 and D3-5). Our analyses support the following conclusions: (1) palaearctic Chilaspis and Dryocosmus species form an intermingled monophyletic group. (2) We propose that Chilaspis Mayr, 1881 is a syn.n. of Dryocosmus Giraud, 1859 and propose the name D. mayri as a comb.rev. for the species previously named C. mayri, and D. nitidus and D. israeli as comb.n. of C. nitida and C. israeli, respectively. (3) We reassess the utility of morphological characters previously regarded as diagnostic for these genera. (4) Two species previously known only from a single generation represent two halves of a single species lifecycle. Dryocosmus nervosus is here designated a syn.n. of D. cerriphilus. (5) The nearctic species D. favus lies outside the palaearctic Chilaspis/Dryocosmus clade, and Dryocosmus as currently recognized is not a monophyletic group. (6) Dryocosmus/Chilaspis is closely related to the other oak gallwasp taxa (Aphelonyx, Plagiotrochus, Pseudoneuroterus, Trichagalma, and some Neuroterus species) galling section Cerris oaks. This implies an early branching evolution of this oak association within this group, and supports previous work showing the rarity of oak gallwasp host shifts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science