Submitted to: Systematic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2008
Publication Date: 1/5/2009
Citation: Buffington, M.L. 2009. Description, circumscription and phylogenetics of the Zaeucoilini, new tribe (Hymenoptera: Figitidae: Eucoilinae) and a description of a new genus. Systematic Entomology. 34:162-187.
Interpretive Summary: Leafmining insects are a principle pest group in several agriculture commodities, such as melons, tomatoes, and lettuce. Leafmining flies are especially troublesome in warmer regions of North America and the Pacific Islands, causing millions of dollars in losses annually. Since these flies feed inside of the leaf, typical pesticide applications fail to control these pest populations. Parasitic wasps are very effective at controlling these pests, but the identification of these wasps is very difficult. This paper re-describes twelve groups of these wasps, one entirely new to science, that attack these leafmining flies. Taxonomists, biological control workers, agricultural extension agents, and ecologists will find this paper useful.
Technical Abstract: Neotropical eucoiline genera that have been included in and allied with the Zaeucoila genus group sensu Nordlander are redescribed. Following character analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction (25 taxa, 96 morphological characters, 1452 ribosomal and mitochondrial characters), this informal genus group was found to be monophyletic, and hence raised to formal recognition as a tribe of eucoilines, viz. Zaeucoilini. Through phylogenetic reconstruction, Aegeseucoela Buffington was determined to be polyphyletic; the type species of Aegeseucoela, A. grenadensis (Ashmead) is hereby transferred to Agrostocynips; the orphaned species, A. flavotincta (Kieffer) is transferred to Marthiella Buffington, new genus. Based on the examination of the holotype of Diranchis flavipes Ashmead, 1900, this species is hereby transferred to Rhabdeucoela, new combination, where it is both a junior subjective synonym of flavipes (Ashmead, 1894), as well as a junior, secondary homonym. Zaeucoilini contains the following genera: Agrostocynips Diaz, Dettmeria Borgmeier, Dicerataspis Ashmead, Lopheucoila Weld, Marthiella Buffington, Moneucoela Kieffer, Moritiella Buffington, Penteucoila Weld, Preseucoela Buffington, Rhabdeucoela Kieffer, Tropideucoila Ashmead, and Zaeucoila Ashmead. Characters and character states applicable specifically to Zaeucoilini are defined and illustrated. Characters supporting the monophyly of each of these genera are discussed. The plesiomorphic host for members of the Zaeucoilini are agromyzid leaf-mining Diptera, with one shift within the clade containing Dettmeria, Dicerataspis and Lopheucoila to fruit-infesting Diptera. New host records are reported for species of Preseucoela, Rhabdeucoela and Zaeucoila. When known, all hosts for the species of each genus are reported, as well as currently known distribution and location of type specimens.