Uncovering Cryptic Parasitoid Diversity in Horismenus (Chalcidoidea, Eulophidae).

  • publication
  • 10-09-2015

Kenyon SG, Buerki S, Hansson C, Alvarez N, Benrey B. PLoS ONE 2015 ;10(9):e0136063. 10.1371/journal.pone.0136063. PONE-D-15-11086. PMC4564207.

Horismenus parasitoids are an abundant and understudied group of eulophid wasps found mainly in the New World. Recent surveys based on morphological analyses in Costa Rica have quadrupled the number of named taxa, with more than 400 species described so far. This recent revision suggests that there is still a vast number of unknown species to be identified. As Horismenus wasps have been widely described as parasitoids of insect pests associated with crop plants, it is of high importance to properly establish the extant diversity of the genus, in order to provide biological control practitioners with an exhaustive catalog of putative control agents. In this study, we first collected Horismenus wasps from wild Phaseolus bean seeds in Central Mexico and Arizona to assess the genetic relatedness of three morphologically distinct species with overlapping host and geographical ranges. Sequence data from two nuclear and two mitochondrial gene regions uncovered three cryptic species within each of the three focal species (i.e., H. missouriensis, H. depressus and H. butcheri). The monophyly of each cryptic group is statistically supported (except in two of them represented by one single tip in which monophyly cannot be tested). The phylogenetic reconstruction is discussed with respect to differences between gene regions as well as likely reasons for the differences in variability between species.

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