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Open AccessArticle

Host Specialization in Plant-galling Interactions: Contrasting Mites and Insects

1
Department of General Biology, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, 39401-089 Montes Claros, Brazil
2
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Uso dos Recursos Naturais, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, 39401-089 Montes Claros, Brazil
3
Department of Planting Design and Maintenance, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, 949-76 Nitra, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(10), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11100180
Received: 26 July 2019 / Revised: 7 September 2019 / Accepted: 16 September 2019 / Published: 1 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Diversity)
Galling arthropods represent one of the most specialized herbivore groups. On an evolutionary scale, different taxa of insects and mites have convergently adapted to a galling lifestyle. In this study, we have used a multi-taxonomic approach to analyze the interaction specialization between gall-inducing mites and insects and their host plants in the Nitra City Park (Nitra, Slovakia). We used four ecological descriptors for describe plant-galling interactions: number of host plant species used by each arthropod species, galling specificity on host plant species (specificity), exclusivity of interactions between galling and plant species (specialization) and overlap of the interactions between arthropod species (similarity). We have found 121 species of gall-inducing arthropods, totaling 90 insects and 31 mites occurring on 65 host plant species. Our results reveal that mites have high specialization and low similarity of interactions in comparison to insects. A multiple-taxonomic comparison showed that these differences are triggered by gall-wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), the taxon with the lowest levels of specificity of plant-galling interactions (i.e., occurring on different host plant species). Our findings are indicative of different patterns of interaction between distinct gall-inducing arthropods taxa and their host plants, despite the ecological convergence of different taxa to a highly specialized herbivorous habitat. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cecidomyiidae; Cynipidae; Eriophyidae; herbivory; plant-insect interactions Cecidomyiidae; Cynipidae; Eriophyidae; herbivory; plant-insect interactions
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Araújo, W.S.; Freitas, É.V.D.; Kollár, J.; Pessoa, R.O.; Corgosinho, P.H.C.; Valério, H.M.; Falcão, L.A.D.; Fagundes, M.; Pimenta, M.A.S.; Faria, M.L.; Martins, W.P.; Borges, M.A.Z. Host Specialization in Plant-galling Interactions: Contrasting Mites and Insects. Diversity 2019, 11, 180.

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