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Title: The occurrence and phylogenetic implications of wing intereference patterns (WIP) in the Cynipoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera)

item Buffington, Matthew

Submitted to: Invertebrate Systematics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/4/2011
Publication Date: 5/7/2012
Citation: Buffington, M.L., Sandler, R. 2012. The occurrence and phylogenetic implications of wing intereference patterns (WIP) in the Cynipoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Invertebrate Systematics. 25:586-597.

Interpretive Summary: Identification of species whose external features are nearly identical, but whose biological differences are profound (termed cryptic species) is very difficult. While the use of DNA sequencing has helped with this problem, researchers are constantly in search of novel, easy-to-observe morphological characters for species identification. This paper investigates wing-interference patterns in gall wasps. This pattern is similar to that found when an oil film spreads across water, producing a rainbow effect. Observing this effect is achieved by examining a wing over a black background. A digital camera attached to a microscope can record the pattern. We discovered four distinct categories of wing patterns, and we use these patterns to outline methods for species identification. The data in this paper will be useful for research entomologists, extension entomologists, biological control workers, evolutionary biologists and ecologists.

Technical Abstract: Wing interference patterns (WIP) are a potentially rich source of taxonomic data. We surveyed a broad range of Cynioidea (Hymenoptera) species for the presence of these patterns. Further, we used phylogeny to investigate the evolutionary patterns of WIPs thoughout the superfamily. We have documented that WIPs occur across nearly all species we sampled, in both the hindwing and forewing; in many instances, the forewing WIP is carried over to the hindwing. Only Austrocynips mirabilis and an undescribed species Eschatocerus lacked the patterns. Among the species that do possess WIPs, we were able to categorize four distinct WIP patterns: radiform (radiating), striatiform (longitudinally striate), campiform (continuous field) and galactiform (amorphous mixture of colors). WIPs are not found in infuscate wings or areas of infuscation on otherwise hyaline wings; WIPs are reduced on large wings. Within the Figitidae, WIPs are more phylogenetically conservative, especially at the level of tribes; within Cynipidae, the phylogenetic conservatism of WIPs is somewhat less clear, though all Synergini sampled have a very consistent WIP. For certain genera, such as Ganaspidium and Andricus, WIPs may prove useful for species-level discrimination.