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Molecular markers reveal diversity in composition of Megastigmus (Hymenoptera: Megastigmidae) from eucalypt galls

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Le, N. H., Nahrung, H. F., Morgan, J. A. T., Ogbourne, S. and Lawson, S. A. (2020) Molecular markers reveal diversity in composition of Megastigmus (Hymenoptera: Megastigmidae) from eucalypt galls. Ecology and Evolution, 10 (20). pp. 11565-11578. ISSN 2045-7758


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6791

Publisher URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ece3.6791


Since outbreaks of the invasive blue gum chalcids Leptocybe spp. began, the genus Megastigmus (Hymenoptera: Megastigmidae) has been increasingly studied as containing potential biocontrol agents against these pests. Megastigmus species have been collected and described from Australia, the presumed origin of Leptocybe spp., with M. zvimendeli and M. lawsoni reported as Leptocybe spp. parasitoids established outside of Australia. Parasitic Megastigmus have been reported to occur locally in the Neotropics, Afrotropic, Palearctic, and Indomalaya biogeographic realms, and in many cases described as new to science. However, molecular tools have not been used in studying parasitic Megastigmus, and difficulties in morphological taxonomy have compromised further understanding of eucalypt-associated Megastigmus as well as the Megastigmus-Leptocybe association. In this study, we used molecular markers to study the species composition and phylogeny of Megastigmus collected from eucalypt galls in Australia and from Leptocybe spp. galls from South Africa, Kenya, Israel, China, and Vietnam. We record thirteen discrete species and a species complex associated with eucalypt galls. A summary of morphological characters is provided to assist morphological delimitation of the studied group. A phylogeny based on 28S rDNA identified species groups of importance to Leptocybe spp. biocontrol agents from four clades with nine species. Relationships between Megastigmus from eucalypt galls and their phytophagous congeners were unresolved. Further molecular work is needed to clarify the identity of many species.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Open access PDF attached
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Science > Biology > Genetics
Science > Zoology > Invertebrates
Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Science > Zoology > Morphology
Plant pests and diseases
Live Archive:30 Sep 2020 03:18
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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