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Phylogenetics patterns of host utilization in two tropical Microgastrine parasitoid genera (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

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Title: Phylogenetics patterns of host utilization in two tropical Microgastrine parasitoid genera (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Author(s): O'Connor, Jaqueline M.
Advisor(s): Whitfield, James B.
Department / Program: Entomology
Discipline: Entomology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Cotesia Microgastrinae phylogeny host utilization specialist parasitoid polydnavirus coevolution Piper Eois Parapanteles speciation tri-trophic
Abstract: Parasitoid wasps play a pivotal role in maintaining the structure and dynamics of complex food webs. However, classical species sampling techniques such as malaise, light and yellow pan trapping, generally lack information regarding host utilization. Even within the species for which host data is available, there are commonly too few accurate records to provide a realistic depiction of host breadth. As a result, detailed phylogenetic studies including both realistic subsets of species and empirical data regarding parasitoid life history are rare, if not until very recently completely absent from the literature. Over the past decade however, a number of rearing inventories in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea have superseded classical technique, providing multiple records collected over many years for every specimen reared, representing a unique opportunity to study the evolution of host breadth and specialization across and within parasitoid lineages. In the following chapters I present multi-gene molecular phylogenies, including in-depth life history information for two separate microgastrine genera, Cotesia and Parapanteles, the data for which were collected over a number of years by two large scale rearing inventories, the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) inventory, Costa Rica and the Yanayacu Field Station, Ecuador. Using the 53 provisional morpho-barcode species of the genus Cotesia outlined by Smith et al. (2008), I reconstructed a five-gene molecular phylogeny which synthesizes detailed ecological data amassed over years of ACG Cotesia rearings. By presenting ecological data in a phylogenetic context and using the findings of recently published lepidopteran phylogenies, I investigate the phylogenetic history of Costa Rican Cotesia and relate their patterns of host use to the corresponding phylogenetic relationships of the caterpillars they parasitize. Secondly, I reconstructed a three-gene molecular phylogeny of Ecuadorian members of the genus Parapanteles. With only 16 tropical species described to date, Parapanteles are thought to be a moderately large but poorly understood genus of the Microgastrinae (Valerio et al. 2009). The phylogeny I present includes 16 provisional new species, potentially doubling the count of known Parapanteles in the tropics. All of the parasitoids included in this collaborative study were reared from caterpillars in the hyper-diverse genus Eois (Geometridae: Lepidoptera), that are all specialist feeders on plants in the equally diverse plant family Piper (Piperaceae: Piperales). Phylogenies were estimated for each of the genera within each trophic interaction. Phylogenetic and ecological data were brought together for the Piper, Eois, and Parapanteles cascade (most of which are recently discovered, undescribed species) using novel statistical techniques, implemented to investigate the role of resource use in diversification across three trophic levels. The results of which were used to speculate about the phylogenetic distribution of host use within three hyper-diverse genera in a tropical ecosystem.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Jaqueline M. O'Connor
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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