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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Systematics of Parasitic and Herbivorous Wasps of Agricultural Importance

Location: Systematic Entomology

Title: Divergence estimates and early evolutionary history of Figitidae (Hymenoptera: Cynipoidea).

Authors
item Buffington, Matthew
item Brady, S. -
item Morita, S. -
item Van Noort, S. -

Submitted to: Systematic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Citation: Buffington, M.L., Brady, S.J., Morita, S.I., Van Noort, S. 2012. Divergence estimates and early evolutionary history of Figitidae (Hymenoptera: Cynipoidea). Systematic Entomology. 37:287-304.

Interpretive Summary: Galls wasps and their relatives can be both beneficial and pestiferous to agriculture worldwide. This paper presents novel data on two whole lineages of gall wasps, and uses this data to infer their evolutionary origin. Additionally, this paper explores the relative ages of all lineages of gall wasps, using fossil dates to calibrate the analysis. We found that gall wasps pre-date their oak host plants by some 60 million years. We also found the pest fly groups that these wasps attack are about the same age, indicating that the host specificity seen today is the result of the two groups evolving in concert. These data will be useful for other taxonomists, biological control workers and ecologists interested in gall wasp evolution, biology and taxonomy.

Technical Abstract: Cynipoid wasps are a moderately diverse linage of plant and insect parasites. Previous studies have focused on the host specificity and host-parasite co-divergence of the oak gall wasps (the Cynipini:Cynipidae). Here, we examine the phylogenetic relationships of another Cynipoid group, the Figitidae and discuss their host use with our own and previously published divergence time data. Our data suggest Mikeiinae and Pycnostigminae are sister-groups, nested adjacent to Thrasorinae, Plectocynipinae and Euceroptrinae, near the base of Figitidae. Divergence estimation analysis in BEAST, indicates the stem-group node of Figitidae to be 126.5 MYA; the dipteran parasitoids, Eucoilinae and Figitinae, were estimated to have a median age of 80.4 and 88.15 MYA, respectively; the neuropteran parasitoids, Anacharitinae, were estimated to have a median age of 97.4; sternorrhynchan hyper-parasitoids, Charipinae, were estimated to have a median age of 110.1 MYA; the Hymenoptera-parasitic subfamilies at the base of the Figitidae ranged in median ages from 48 to 108 MYA. Rapid radiation of the Eucoilinae subclades appear chronologically synchronized with their hosts, the Schizophora (Diptera).. The recovery of Pycnostigminae as sister-group to Mikeiinae suggests two major patterns of evolution: 1) early Figitidae lineages demonstrate a Gondawanian origin (Plectocynipinae: Neotropical; Mikeiinae and Thrasorinae: Australia; Pycnostigminae: Africa); and 2) based on host records for Mikeiinae, Thrasorinae and Plectocynipinae, Pycnostigminae are predicted to be parasitic on gall-inducing Hymenoptera.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014