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Sample records for inquilinism

  1. The adaptive significance of inquiline parasite workers.

    PubMed Central

    Sumner, Seirian; Nash, David R; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2003-01-01

    Social parasites exploit the socially managed resources of their host's society. Inquiline social parasites are dependent on their host throughout their life cycle, and so many of the traits inherited from their free-living ancestor are removed by natural selection. One trait that is commonly lost is the worker caste, the functions of which are adequately fulfilled by host workers. The few inquiline parasites that have retained a worker caste are thought to be at a transitional stage in the evolution of social parasitism, and their worker castes are considered vestigial and non-adaptive. However, this idea has not been tested. Furthermore, whether inquiline workers have an adaptive role outside the usual worker repertoire of foraging, brood care and colony maintenance has not been examined. In this paper, we present data that suggest that workers of the inquiline ant Acromyrmex insinuator play a vital role in ensuring the parasite's fitness. We show that the presence of these parasite workers has a positive effect on the production of parasite sexuals and a negative effect on the production of host sexuals. This suggests that inquiline workers play a vital role in suppressing host queen reproduction, thus promoting the rearing of parasite sexuals. To our knowledge, these are the first experiments on inquiline workers and the first to provide evidence that inquiline workers have an adaptive role. PMID:12816646

  2. Diet Segregation between Cohabiting Builder and Inquiline Termite Species

    PubMed Central

    Florencio, Daniela Faria; Marins, Alessandra; Rosa, Cassiano Sousa; Cristaldo, Paulo Fellipe; Araújo, Ana Paula Albano; Silva, Ivo Ribeiro; DeSouza, Og

    2013-01-01

    How do termite inquilines manage to cohabit termitaria along with the termite builder species? With this in mind, we analysed one of the several strategies that inquilines could use to circumvent conflicts with their hosts, namely, the use of distinct diets. We inspected overlapping patterns for the diets of several cohabiting Neotropical termite species, as inferred from carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures for termite individuals. Cohabitant communities from distinct termitaria presented overlapping diet spaces, indicating that they exploited similar diets at the regional scale. When such communities were split into their components, full diet segregation could be observed between builders and inquilines, at regional (environment-wide) and local (termitarium) scales. Additionally, diet segregation among inquilines themselves was also observed in the vast majority of inspected termitaria. Inquiline species distribution among termitaria was not random. Environmental-wide diet similarity, coupled with local diet segregation and deterministic inquiline distribution, could denounce interactions for feeding resources. However, inquilines and builders not sharing the same termitarium, and thus not subject to potential conflicts, still exhibited distinct diets. Moreover, the areas of the builder’s diet space and that of its inquilines did not correlate negatively. Accordingly, the diet areas of builders which hosted inquilines were in average as large as the areas of builders hosting no inquilines. Such results indicate the possibility that dietary partitioning by these cohabiting termites was not majorly driven by current interactive constraints. Rather, it seems to be a result of traits previously fixed in the evolutionary past of cohabitants. PMID:23805229

  3. Utilisation of chemical signals by inquiline wasps in entering their host figs.

    PubMed

    Gu, Ding; Yang, Da-Rong

    2013-10-01

    The fig tree, Ficus curtipes, hosts an obligate pollinating wasp, an undescribed Eupristina sp., but can also be pollinated by two inquiline (living in the burrow, nest, gall, or other habitation of another animal) wasps, Diaziella yangi and an undescribed Lipothymus sp. The two inquilines are unable to independently induce galls and depend on the galls induced by the obligate pollinator for reproduction and, therefore, normally enter receptive F. curtipes figs colonised by the obligate pollinators. However, sometimes the inquilines also enter figs that are not colonised by the pollinators, despite consequent reproductive failure. It is still unknown which signal(s) the inquilines use in entering the colonised and non-colonised figs. We conducted behavioural experiments to investigate several possible signals utilised by the inquilines in entering their host receptive figs. Our investigation showed that both inquiline species enter the receptive F. curtipes figs in response to the body odours of the obligate wasps and one of the main compounds emitted by the figs, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one. The compound was not found in the pollinator body odours, suggesting that the two inquiline wasps can utilise two signals to enter their host figs, which is significant for the evolution of the fig-fig wasp system. These inquilines could evolve to become mutualists of the figs if they evolve the ability to independently gall fig flowers; there is, however, another possibility that a monoecious Ficus species hosting such inquilines may evolve into a dioecious one if these inquilines cannot evolve the above-mentioned ability. Additionally, this finding provides evidence for the evolution of chemical communication between plants and insects.

  4. Allometric Scaling of Patrolling Rate and Nest Volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster Termites: Hints on the Settlement of Inquilines

    PubMed Central

    DeSouza, Og; Araújo, Ana Paula Albano; Florencio, Daniela Faria; Rosa, Cassiano Sousa; Marins, Alessandra; Costa, Diogo Andrade; Rodrigues, Vinicius Barros; Cristaldo, Paulo Fellipe

    2016-01-01

    Structural and functional traits of organisms are known to be related to the size of individuals and to the size of their colonies when they belong to one. Among such traits, propensity to inquilinism in termites is known to relate positively to colony size. Larger termitaria hold larger diversity of facultative inquilines than smaller nests, whereas obligate inquilines seem unable to settle in nests smaller than a threshold volume. Respective underlying mechanisms, however, remain hypothetical. Here we test one of such hypotheses, namely, that nest defence correlates negatively to nest volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster termites (Termitidae: Nasutitermitinae). As a surrogate to defence, we used ‘patrolling rate’, i.e., the number of termite individuals attending per unit time an experimentally damaged spot on the outer wall of their termitaria. We found that patrolling rate decayed allometrically with increasing nest size. Conspicuously higher patrolling rates occurred in smaller nests, while conspicuously lower rates occurred in larger nests presenting volumes in the vicinity of the threshold value for the establishment of inquilinism. This could be proven adaptive for the host and guest. At younger nest age, host colonies are smaller and presumably more vulnerable and unstable. Enhanced defence rates may, hence, prevent eventual risks to hosts from inquilinism at the same time that it prevents inquilines to settle in a still unstable nest. Conversely, when colonies grow and maturate enough to stand threats, they would invest in priorities other than active defence, opening an opportunity for inquilines to settle in nests which are more suitable or less risky. Under this two-fold process, cohabitation between host and inquiline could readily stabilize. PMID:26808197

  5. Allometric Scaling of Patrolling Rate and Nest Volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster Termites: Hints on the Settlement of Inquilines.

    PubMed

    DeSouza, Og; Araújo, Ana Paula Albano; Florencio, Daniela Faria; Rosa, Cassiano Sousa; Marins, Alessandra; Costa, Diogo Andrade; Rodrigues, Vinicius Barros; Cristaldo, Paulo Fellipe

    2016-01-01

    Structural and functional traits of organisms are known to be related to the size of individuals and to the size of their colonies when they belong to one. Among such traits, propensity to inquilinism in termites is known to relate positively to colony size. Larger termitaria hold larger diversity of facultative inquilines than smaller nests, whereas obligate inquilines seem unable to settle in nests smaller than a threshold volume. Respective underlying mechanisms, however, remain hypothetical. Here we test one of such hypotheses, namely, that nest defence correlates negatively to nest volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster termites (Termitidae: Nasutitermitinae). As a surrogate to defence, we used 'patrolling rate', i.e., the number of termite individuals attending per unit time an experimentally damaged spot on the outer wall of their termitaria. We found that patrolling rate decayed allometrically with increasing nest size. Conspicuously higher patrolling rates occurred in smaller nests, while conspicuously lower rates occurred in larger nests presenting volumes in the vicinity of the threshold value for the establishment of inquilinism. This could be proven adaptive for the host and guest. At younger nest age, host colonies are smaller and presumably more vulnerable and unstable. Enhanced defence rates may, hence, prevent eventual risks to hosts from inquilinism at the same time that it prevents inquilines to settle in a still unstable nest. Conversely, when colonies grow and maturate enough to stand threats, they would invest in priorities other than active defence, opening an opportunity for inquilines to settle in nests which are more suitable or less risky. Under this two-fold process, cohabitation between host and inquiline could readily stabilize.

  6. Allometric Scaling of Patrolling Rate and Nest Volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster Termites: Hints on the Settlement of Inquilines.

    PubMed

    DeSouza, Og; Araújo, Ana Paula Albano; Florencio, Daniela Faria; Rosa, Cassiano Sousa; Marins, Alessandra; Costa, Diogo Andrade; Rodrigues, Vinicius Barros; Cristaldo, Paulo Fellipe

    2016-01-01

    Structural and functional traits of organisms are known to be related to the size of individuals and to the size of their colonies when they belong to one. Among such traits, propensity to inquilinism in termites is known to relate positively to colony size. Larger termitaria hold larger diversity of facultative inquilines than smaller nests, whereas obligate inquilines seem unable to settle in nests smaller than a threshold volume. Respective underlying mechanisms, however, remain hypothetical. Here we test one of such hypotheses, namely, that nest defence correlates negatively to nest volume in Constrictotermes cyphergaster termites (Termitidae: Nasutitermitinae). As a surrogate to defence, we used 'patrolling rate', i.e., the number of termite individuals attending per unit time an experimentally damaged spot on the outer wall of their termitaria. We found that patrolling rate decayed allometrically with increasing nest size. Conspicuously higher patrolling rates occurred in smaller nests, while conspicuously lower rates occurred in larger nests presenting volumes in the vicinity of the threshold value for the establishment of inquilinism. This could be proven adaptive for the host and guest. At younger nest age, host colonies are smaller and presumably more vulnerable and unstable. Enhanced defence rates may, hence, prevent eventual risks to hosts from inquilinism at the same time that it prevents inquilines to settle in a still unstable nest. Conversely, when colonies grow and maturate enough to stand threats, they would invest in priorities other than active defence, opening an opportunity for inquilines to settle in nests which are more suitable or less risky. Under this two-fold process, cohabitation between host and inquiline could readily stabilize. PMID:26808197

  7. Phylogeny and DNA barcoding of inquiline oak gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) of the Western Palaearctic.

    PubMed

    Acs, Zoltán; Challis, Richard J; Bihari, Péter; Blaxter, Mark; Hayward, Alexander; Melika, George; Csóka, György; Pénzes, Zsolt; Pujade-Villar, Juli; Nieves-Aldrey, José-Luis; Schönrogge, Karsten; Stone, Graham N

    2010-04-01

    We examine phylogenetic relationships within the Synergus complex of herbivorous inquiline gallwasps (Hymenoptera; Cynipidae; Synergini) associated with cynipid host galls on oak, a biologically diverse group whose genus-level morphological taxonomy has long been considered stable but whose species level taxonomy is problematic. We incorporate data for over 70% of recognised Western Palaearctic species in five morphology-based genera (Ceroptres, Saphonecrus, Synergus, Synophrus, Ufo), comprising sequence for two mitochondrial loci (coxI, cytb) and one nuclear locus (28S D2). In particular, we assess the evidence for monophyly of two long-established, morphology-defined sections within the genus Synergus that differ in a range of biological traits. To aid analyses of ecological interactions within oak cynipid communities, we also consider the utility of cytochrome oxidase I (coxI) DNA barcodes in the oak inquilines. In this assessment, we do not assume that species are delineated at a single threshold value of sequence divergence for a single gene, but examine concordance in the composition of molecular operational Taxonomic units (MOTUs) across a range of sequence divergences in each gene and across genes. We also assess the impact of sampling effort on MOTU stability. Phylogenetic reconstructions for all three loci support monophyly for Synergus and Synophrus, but reject monophyly for Saphonecrus and for the two sections within Synergus. The suites of traits associated with the two sections of the genus Synergus are thus homoplasious. All three loci also reject monophyly for three Synergus species (S. hayneanus, S. pallipes, S. umbraculus). Sequences for each locus identify robust MOTUs that are largely concordant across loci for a range of cut-off values. Though many MOTU's correspond to recognised Linnean species, there is significant, multigene disagreement between groupings supported by morphology and sequence data, with both allocation of different

  8. Evolution in response to direct and indirect ecological effects in pitcher plant inquiline communities.

    PubMed

    terHorst, Casey P

    2010-12-01

    Ecologists have long recognized the importance of indirect ecological effects on species abundances, coexistence, and diversity. However, the evolutionary consequences of indirect interactions are rarely considered. Here I conduct selection experiments and examine the evolutionary response of Colpoda sp., a ciliated protozoan, to other members of the inquiline community of purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea). I measured the evolution of six traits in response to (1) predation by mosquito larvae, (2) competition from other ciliated protozoans, and (3) simultaneous predation and competition. The latter treatment incorporated both direct effects and indirect effects due to interactions between predators and competitors. Population growth rate and cell size evolved in response to direct effects of predators and competitors. However, trait values in the multispecies treatment were similar to those in the monoculture treatment, indicating that direct effects were offset by strong indirect effects on the evolution of traits. For most of the traits measured, indirect effects were opposed to, and often stronger than, direct effects. These indirect effects occurred as a result of behavioral changes of the predator in the presence of competitors and as a result of reduced densities of competitors in the presence of predators. Incorporating indirect effects provides a more realistic description of how species evolve in complex natural communities.

  9. New species of cynipid inquilines of the genus Saphonecrus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Synergini) from the Eastern Palaearctic, with a re-appraisal of known species world-wide.

    PubMed

    Schwéger, Szabina; Melika, George; Tang, Chang-Ti; Yang, Man-Miao; Stone, Graham N; Nicholls, James A; Sinclair, Frazer; Hearn, Jack; Bozsó, Miklós; Pénzes, Zsolt

    2015-12-08

    Fifteen new species of cynipid inquilines, Saphonecrus chinensis Tang & Schwéger, S. gilvus Melika & Schwéger, S. globosus Schwéger & Tang, S. leleyi Melika & Schwéger, S. lithocarpii Schwéger & Melika, S. longinuxi Schwéger & Melika, S. morii Schwéger & Tang, S. nantoui Tang, Schwéger & Melika, S. nichollsi Schwéger & Melika, S. pachylomai Schwéger, Tang & Melika, S. robustus Schwéger & Melika, S. saliciniai Melika, Tang & Schwéger, S. shanzhukui Melika & Tang, S. symbioticus Melika & Schwéger, and S. taitungi Schwéger, Tang & Melika, from the Eastern Palaearctic are described. Descriptions, diagnoses, biology, and host associations for the new species, and a key to Palaearctic Saphonecrus species are given. All new taxa form distinct units as demonstrated by the molecular phylogenetic analyses of Palaearctic Saphonecrus species. The status of some earlier described Saphonecrus species is discussed also. The Synergini genus Lithonecrus Nieves-Aldrey & Butterill, 2014 is synonymized with Lithosaphonecrus Tang, Melika & Bozsó, 2013. Three Saphonecrus species are transferred to Synergus: Synergus brevis (Weld) comb. nova, Synergus hupingshanensis (Liu, Yang & Zhu) comb. nova, and Synergus yukawai (Wachi, Ide & Abe) comb. nova. Synophrus vietnamensis Abe, Ide, Konishi & Ueno is transferred to Lithosaphonecrus: Lithosaphonecrus vietnamensis Abe, Ide, Konishi & Ueno), comb. nova. The current number of valid Saphonecrus species worldwide is 36.

  10. Insects found in birds' nests from Argentina: Coryphistera alaudina Burmeister, 1860 (Aves: Furnariidae), their inquiline birds and mammals, new hosts for Psammolestes coreodes Bergroth, 1911 and Triatoma platensis Neiva, 1913 (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae).

    PubMed

    Turienzo, Paola; Di Iorio, Osvaldo

    2014-06-03

    The insect fauna in nests of Coryphistera alaudina Burmeister, 1860 (Aves: Furnariidae) were studied in the provinces of Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Córdoba, and La Pampa in Argentina. A total of 7364 insect specimens comprising 77 taxa in a total of 29 families and 7 orders was found in their nests: 40 identified to species, 23 identified to genus, and 14 identified to family. Coryphistera alaudina and some of their vertebrate inquilines are new host records for the triatomine bugs Psammolestes coreodes Bergroth, 1911 and/or Triatoma platensis Neiva, 1913 (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). The insects in the nests of C. alaudina are separated by functional guilds, and their permanence time inside the nests are presented in a new manner and discussed.

  11. Phylogeography of the ant Myrmica rubra and its inquiline social parasite

    PubMed Central

    Leppänen, Jenni; Vepsäläinen, Kari; Savolainen, Riitta

    2011-01-01

    Widely distributed Palearctic insects are ideal to study phylogeographic patterns owing to their high potential to survive in many Pleistocene refugia and—after the glaciation—to recolonize vast, continuous areas. Nevertheless, such species have received little phylogeographic attention. Here, we investigated the Pleistocene refugia and subsequent postglacial colonization of the common, abundant, and widely distributed ant Myrmica rubra over most of its Palearctic area, using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The western and eastern populations of M. rubra belonged predominantly to separate haplogroups, which formed a broad secondary contact zone in Central Europe. The distribution of genetic diversity and haplogroups implied that M. rubra survived the last glaciation in multiple refugia located over an extensive area from Iberia in the west to Siberia in the east, and colonized its present areas of distribution along several routes. The matrilineal genetic structure of M. rubra was probably formed during the last glaciation and subsequent postglacial expansion. Additionally, because M. rubra has two queen morphs, the obligately socially parasitic microgyne and its macrogyne host, we tested the suggested speciation of the parasite. Locally, the parasite and host usually belonged to the same haplogroup but differed in haplotype frequencies. This indicates that genetic differentiation between the morphs is a universal pattern and thus incipient, sympatric speciation of the parasite from its host is possible. If speciation is taking place, however, it is not yet visible as lineage sorting of the mtDNA between the morphs. PMID:22393482

  12. Chemical disguise as particular caste of host ants in the ant inquiline parasite Niphanda fusca (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae).

    PubMed

    Hojo, Masaru K; Wada-Katsumata, Ayako; Akino, Toshiharu; Yamaguchi, Susumu; Ozaki, Mamiko; Yamaoka, Ryohei

    2009-02-01

    The exploitation of parental care is common in avian and insect 'cuckoos' and these species engage in a coevolutionary arms race. Caterpillars of the lycaenid butterfly Niphanda fusca develop as parasites inside the nests of host ants (Camponotus japonicus) where they grow by feeding on the worker trophallaxis. We hypothesized that N. fusca caterpillars chemically mimic host larvae, or some particular castes of the host ant, so that the caterpillars are accepted and cared for by the host workers. Behaviourally, it was observed that the host workers enthusiastically tended glass dummies coated with the cuticular chemicals of larvae or males and those of N. fusca caterpillars living together. Cuticular chemical analyses revealed that N. fusca caterpillars grown in a host ant nest acquired a colony-specific blend of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). Furthermore, the CHC profiles of the N. fusca caterpillars were particularly close to those of the males rather than those of the host larvae and the others. We suggest that N. fusca caterpillars exploit worker care by matching their cuticular profile to that of the host males, since the males are fed by trophallaxis with workers in their natal nests for approximately ten months. PMID:18842547

  13. Phylogenetic tests reject Emery's rule in the evolution of social parasitism in yellowjackets and hornets (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Vespinae)

    PubMed Central

    Lopez-Osorio, Federico; Perrard, Adrien; Pickett, Kurt M.; Carpenter, James M.; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2015-01-01

    Social parasites exploit the brood-care behaviour and social structure of one or more host species. Within the social Hymenoptera there are different types of social parasitism. In its extreme form, species of obligate social parasites, or inquilines, do not have the worker caste and depend entirely on the workers of a host species to raise their reproductive offspring. The strict form of Emery's rule states that social parasites share immediate common ancestry with their hosts. Moreover, this rule has been linked with a sympatric origin of inquilines from their hosts. Here, we conduct phylogenetic analyses of yellowjackets and hornets based on 12 gene fragments and evaluate competing evolutionary scenarios to test Emery's rule. We find that inquilines, as well as facultative social parasites, are not the closest relatives of their hosts. Therefore, Emery's rule in its strict sense is rejected, suggesting that social parasites have not evolved sympatrically from their hosts in yellowjackets and hornets. However, the relaxed version of the rule is supported, as inquilines and their hosts belong to the same Dolichovespula clade. Furthermore, inquilinism has evolved only once in Dolichovespula. PMID:26473041

  14. Phylogenetic tests reject Emery's rule in the evolution of social parasitism in yellowjackets and hornets (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Vespinae).

    PubMed

    Lopez-Osorio, Federico; Perrard, Adrien; Pickett, Kurt M; Carpenter, James M; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2015-09-01

    Social parasites exploit the brood-care behaviour and social structure of one or more host species. Within the social Hymenoptera there are different types of social parasitism. In its extreme form, species of obligate social parasites, or inquilines, do not have the worker caste and depend entirely on the workers of a host species to raise their reproductive offspring. The strict form of Emery's rule states that social parasites share immediate common ancestry with their hosts. Moreover, this rule has been linked with a sympatric origin of inquilines from their hosts. Here, we conduct phylogenetic analyses of yellowjackets and hornets based on 12 gene fragments and evaluate competing evolutionary scenarios to test Emery's rule. We find that inquilines, as well as facultative social parasites, are not the closest relatives of their hosts. Therefore, Emery's rule in its strict sense is rejected, suggesting that social parasites have not evolved sympatrically from their hosts in yellowjackets and hornets. However, the relaxed version of the rule is supported, as inquilines and their hosts belong to the same Dolichovespula clade. Furthermore, inquilinism has evolved only once in Dolichovespula.

  15. New family host and records of Acanthocrios furnarii (Cordero & Vogelsang, 1928) (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) from Argentina, and implications in the transmission mechanism of cimicid bugs among birds' nests.

    PubMed

    Di Iorio, Osvaldo; Turienzo, Paola; Bragagnolo, Laura; Santillan, Miguel Angel; Grande, Juan Manuel

    2013-01-01

    Acanthocrios furnarii (Cordero & Vogelsang, 1928) [Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Haematosiphoninae] is an ectoparasite on avian hosts from Argentina and Uruguay. It has been mostly found in mud nests of Furnarius rufus (Gmelin, 1788) [Aves: Furnariidae], but its true hosts are some of the inquiline birds that use F. rufus nests. These inquiline hosts belong to the families Emberizidae, Hirundinidae, Icteridae, Passeridae, and Troglodytidae. Outside F. rufus mud nests, A. furnarii has been found in nests of other Furnariidae, Hirundinidae, and Passeridae. The present work adds the first nonpasserine host (Falconidae) of A. furnarii, together with new records in La Pampa, Argentina. The transmission mechanism of A. furnarii, together with all other cimicid bugs from Argentina and adjacent countries, is increased considering this new host; and we also take into account the birds that nidificate in nest boxes, the cavity-nesting birds in trees and earth, and the inquiline birds in stick nests of Furnariidae and Psittacidae.

  16. Traps of carnivorous pitcher plants as a habitat: composition of the fluid, biodiversity and mutualistic activities

    PubMed Central

    Adlassnig, Wolfram; Peroutka, Marianne; Lendl, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    Background Carnivorous pitcher plants (CPPs) use cone-shaped leaves to trap animals for nutrient supply but are not able to kill all intruders of their traps. Numerous species, ranging from bacteria to vertrebrates, survive and propagate in the otherwise deadly traps. This paper reviews the literature on phytotelmata of CPPs. Pitcher Fluid as a Habitat The volumes of pitchers range from 0·2 mL to 1·5 L. In Nepenthes and Cephalotus, the fluid is secreted by the trap; the other genera collect rain water. The fluid is usually acidic, rich in O2 and contains digestive enzymes. In some taxa, toxins or detergents are found, or the fluid is extremely viscous. In Heliamphora or Sarracenia, the fluid differs little from pure water. Inquiline Diversity Pitcher inquilines comprise bacteria, protozoa, algae, fungi, rotifers, crustaceans, arachnids, insects and amphibia. The dominant groups are protists and Dipteran larvae. The various species of CPPs host different sets of inquilines. Sarracenia purpurea hosts up to 165 species of inquilines, followed by Nepenthes ampullaria with 59 species, compared with only three species from Brocchinia reducta. Reasons for these differences include size, the life span of the pitcher as well as its fluid. Mutualistic Activities Inquilines closely interact with their host. Some live as parasites, but the vast majority are mutualists. Beneficial activities include secretion of enzymes, feeding on the plant's prey and successive excretion of inorganic nutrients, mechanical break up of the prey, removal of excessive prey and assimilation of atmospheric N2. Conclusions There is strong evidence that CPPs influence their phytotelm. Two strategies can be distinguished: (1) Nepenthes and Cephalotus produce acidic, toxic or digestive fluids and host a limited diversity of inquilines. (2) Genera without efficient enzymes such as Sarracenia or Heliamphora host diverse organisms and depend to a large extent on their symbionts for prey utilization

  17. Phylogeny, evolution, and classification of gall wasps: the plot thickens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Gall wasps (Cynipidae) represent the most spectacular radiation of gall-inducing insects. In addition to true gall formers, gall wasps also include phytophagous inquilines, which live inside the galls induced by gall wasps or other insects. Here we present the first comprehensive molecular and total...

  18. A second species of Cheleion from Johor, Malaysia (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Aphodiinae, Stereomerini)

    PubMed Central

    Král, David; Hájek, Jiří

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A new species of the genus Cheleion Vårdal & Forshage, 2010, Cheleion jendeki sp. n., from Johor, Malaysia is described, illustrated and compared with the type species of the genus, Cheleion malayanum Vårdal & Forshage, 2010. Photographs of the two species are presented. The adaptation to inquilinous lifestyle of Cheleion is compared with those in other beetle groups and briefly discussed. PMID:26692807

  19. Phylogeny, evolution and classification of gall wasps: the plot thickens.

    PubMed

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Nieves-Aldrey, José-Luis; Buffington, Matthew L; Liu, Zhiwei; Liljeblad, Johan; Nylander, Johan A A

    2015-01-01

    Gall wasps (Cynipidae) represent the most spectacular radiation of gall-inducing insects. In addition to true gall formers, gall wasps also include phytophagous inquilines, which live inside the galls induced by gall wasps or other insects. Here we present the first comprehensive molecular and total-evidence analyses of higher-level gall wasp relationships. We studied more than 100 taxa representing a rich selection of outgroups and the majority of described cynipid genera outside the diverse oak gall wasps (Cynipini), which were more sparsely sampled. About 5 kb of nucleotide data from one mitochondrial (COI) and four nuclear (28S, LWRh, EF1alpha F1, and EF1alpha F2) markers were analyzed separately and in combination with morphological and life-history data. According to previous morphology-based studies, gall wasps evolved in the Northern Hemisphere and were initially herb gallers. Inquilines originated once from gall inducers that lost the ability to initiate galls. Our results, albeit not conclusive, suggest a different scenario. The first gall wasps were more likely associated with woody host plants, and there must have been multiple origins of gall inducers, inquilines or both. One possibility is that gall inducers arose independently from inquilines in several lineages. Except for these surprising results, our analyses are largely consistent with previous studies. They confirm that gall wasps are conservative in their host-plant preferences, and that herb-galling lineages have radiated repeatedly onto the same set of unrelated host plants. We propose a revised classification of the family into twelve tribes, which are strongly supported as monophyletic across independent datasets. Four are new: Aulacideini, Phanacidini, Diastrophini and Ceroptresini. We present a key to the tribes and discuss their morphological and biological diversity. Until the relationships among the tribes are resolved, the origin and early evolution of gall wasps will remain elusive.

  20. Phylogeny, Evolution and Classification of Gall Wasps: The Plot Thickens

    PubMed Central

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Nieves-Aldrey, José-Luis; Buffington, Matthew L.; Liu, Zhiwei; Liljeblad, Johan; Nylander, Johan A. A.

    2015-01-01

    Gall wasps (Cynipidae) represent the most spectacular radiation of gall-inducing insects. In addition to true gall formers, gall wasps also include phytophagous inquilines, which live inside the galls induced by gall wasps or other insects. Here we present the first comprehensive molecular and total-evidence analyses of higher-level gall wasp relationships. We studied more than 100 taxa representing a rich selection of outgroups and the majority of described cynipid genera outside the diverse oak gall wasps (Cynipini), which were more sparsely sampled. About 5 kb of nucleotide data from one mitochondrial (COI) and four nuclear (28S, LWRh, EF1alpha F1, and EF1alpha F2) markers were analyzed separately and in combination with morphological and life-history data. According to previous morphology-based studies, gall wasps evolved in the Northern Hemisphere and were initially herb gallers. Inquilines originated once from gall inducers that lost the ability to initiate galls. Our results, albeit not conclusive, suggest a different scenario. The first gall wasps were more likely associated with woody host plants, and there must have been multiple origins of gall inducers, inquilines or both. One possibility is that gall inducers arose independently from inquilines in several lineages. Except for these surprising results, our analyses are largely consistent with previous studies. They confirm that gall wasps are conservative in their host-plant preferences, and that herb-galling lineages have radiated repeatedly onto the same set of unrelated host plants. We propose a revised classification of the family into twelve tribes, which are strongly supported as monophyletic across independent datasets. Four are new: Aulacideini, Phanacidini, Diastrophini and Ceroptresini. We present a key to the tribes and discuss their morphological and biological diversity. Until the relationships among the tribes are resolved, the origin and early evolution of gall wasps will remain elusive

  1. A social parasite evolved reproductive isolation from its fungus-growing ant host in sympatry.

    PubMed

    Rabeling, Christian; Schultz, Ted R; Pierce, Naomi E; Bacci, Maurício

    2014-09-01

    Inquiline social parasitic ant species exploit colonies of other ant species mainly by producing sexual offspring that are raised by the host. Ant social parasites and their hosts are often close relatives (Emery's rule), and two main hypotheses compete to explain the parasites' evolutionary origins: (1) the interspecific hypothesis proposes an allopatric speciation scenario for the parasite, whereas (2) the intraspecific hypothesis postulates that the parasite evolves directly from its host in sympatry [1-10]. Evidence in support of the intraspecific hypothesis has been accumulating for ants [3, 5, 7, 9-12], but sympatric speciation remains controversial as a general speciation mechanism for inquiline parasites. Here we use molecular phylogenetics to assess whether the socially parasitic fungus-growing ant Mycocepurus castrator speciated from its host Mycocepurus goeldii in sympatry. Based on differing patterns of relationship in mitochondrial and individual nuclear genes, we conclude that host and parasite occupy a temporal window in which lineage sorting has taken place in the mitochondrial genes but not yet in the nuclear alleles. We infer that the host originated first and that the parasite originated subsequently from a subset of the host species' populations, providing empirical support for the hypothesis that inquiline parasites can evolve reproductive isolation while living sympatrically with their hosts.

  2. The role of microgynes in the reproductive strategy of the neotropical ant Ectatomma ruidum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenoir, Jean-Christophe; Lachaud, Jean-Paul; Nettel, Alejandro; Fresneau, Dominique; Poteaux, Chantal

    2011-04-01

    Miniaturized queens, microgynes, are regarded as an alternative reproductive strategy sparsely present through the ant world. The described roles of miniaturized queens include alternative short-distance dispersal morphs, an adaptation to polygyny and inquiline parasites. Some of these inquiline parasite microgynes have been described as a separate species from their host. In the poneromorph group, miniaturized queens are only reported in two Mexican populations of two Ectatomminae: Ectatomma tuberculatum, in which small queens represent an inquiline species ( Ectatomma parasiticum) and Ectatomma ruidum. E. ruidum presents apparently facultative polygyny with microgynes. We used mitochondrial DNA markers and newly developed microsatellite loci to investigate the status as well as the role of microgynes in E. ruidum. We confirmed that microgynes and macrogynes are from the same species. This species is almost exclusively monogynous and monoandrous, supernumerary dealate queens of both types being actually daughters of the mother queen. An apparently polygynous nest was more often headed by a macrogyne than a microgyne. We didn't find any inbreeding or isolation by distance in the studied population, indicating that new gynes are inseminated by unrelated males and can establish a new nest far from their natal nest. However, re-adoption of daughter queens seems to be the rule and rate of microgyny appears to be linked to nest density and environmental factors.

  3. The coevolutionary dynamics of obligate ant social parasite systems--between prudence and antagonism.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Miriam; Foitzik, Susanne; Fischer-Blass, Birgit; Heinze, Jürgen

    2005-05-01

    In this synthesis we apply coevolutionary models to the interactions between socially parasitic ants and their hosts. Obligate social parasite systems are ideal models for coevolution, because the close phylogenetic relationship between these parasites and their hosts results in similar evolutionary potentials, thus making mutual adaptations in a stepwise fashion especially likely to occur. The evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite interactions are influenced by a number of parameters, for example the parasite's transmission mode and rate, the genetic structure of host and parasite populations, the antagonists' migration rates, and the degree of mutual specialisation. For the three types of obligate ant social parasites, queen-tolerant and queen-intolerant inquilines and slavemakers, several of these parameters, and thus the evolutionary trajectory, are likely to differ. Because of the fundamental differences in lifestyle between these social parasite systems, coevolution should further select for different traits in the parasites and their hosts. Queen-tolerant inquilines are true parasites that exert a low selection pressure on their host, because of their rarity and the fact that they do not conduct slave raids to replenish their labour force. Due to their high degree of specialisation and the potential for vertical transmission, coevolutionary theory would predict interactions between these workerless parasites and their hosts to become even more benign over time. Queen-intolerant inquilines that kill the host queen during colony take-over are best described as parasitoids, and their reproductive success is limited by the existing worker force of the invaded host nest. These parasites should therefore evolve strategies to best exploit this fixed resource. Slavemaking ants, by contrast, act as parasites only during colony foundation, while their frequent slave raids follow a predator prey dynamic. They often exploit a number of host species at a given site, and

  4. Bottom-up impact on the cecidomyiid leaf galler and its parasitism in a tropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Malinga, Geoffrey M; Valtonen, Anu; Nyeko, Philip; Vesterinen, Eero J; Roininen, Heikki

    2014-10-01

    The relative importance of host-plant resources, natural enemies or their interactions in controlling the population of galling insects and their parasitism is poorly known for tropical gallers. In this study, we assessed the impacts of plant quality and density of host trees in regulating the densities of a galler species, the cecidomyiid leaf galler (Cecidomyiini sp. 1EJV) and its parasitoids and inquilines on Neoboutonia macrocalyx trees in Uganda. We manipulated the nutritional quality (or vigour) and the resource concentration with four levels each of fertilization and the group size of host tree. We then recorded the effects of these treatments on the growth rate and total leaf area of host plants, the density of gallers and their mortality by parasitoids and inquilines. Higher levels of fertilization and host density resulted in significantly higher total leaf area than did ambient nutrient levels, and lowest tree densities, respectively. Fertilization also caused significant change in the growth rate of leaf area. Both higher fertilization and host density caused higher density of gallers. Total leaf area was positively associated with galler density, but within galled replicates, the galled leaves were larger than the ungalled leaves. Although highest levels of fertilization and density of host trees caused significant change in the densities of parasitoids, the rate of parasitism did not change. However, tree-density manipulations increased the rate of inquilinism, but on a very low level. Our results demonstrate a trophic cascade in the tropical galler and its parasitoids as a response to bottom-up effects.

  5. Revision on Palaearctic species of Periclistus Förster with description of a new species and its host plant gall (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae)

    PubMed Central

    Pujade-Villar, Juli; Wang, Yiping; Guo, Rui; Chen, Xuexin

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Palaearctic species of Periclistus Förster has been systematically described, but a new inquiline gall-wasp, Periclistus qinghainensis sp. n., is described from China. This species was obtained from an unknown stem gall induced on Rosa sp. Diagnosis, distribution and biology of the new species are described in this paper. After examining the types of Periclistus idoneus Belizin, 1973 and Periclistus capillatus Belizin, 1968, it is concluded that Periclistus idoneus belongs to genus Aulacidea, and Periclistus capillatus is a valid species of Periclistus. A key to the Palaearctic Periclistus species is also given. PMID:27408577

  6. Revision of the Neotropical genus Eschatocerus Mayr (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Eschatocerini) with biological notes and the first description of the terminal larva.

    PubMed

    Nieves-Aldrey, José Luis; San Blas, Germán

    2015-09-02

    The gall wasp genus Eschatocerus (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Eschatocerini), a cynipid genus of gall inducers on Prosopis and Acacia species (Fabaceae), endemic to southern South America, is revised. Complete descriptions of the external morphology of the genus and its three known species, illustrated with scanning electron photographs, are given for the first time, and an updated key for the identification of the species is provided. The biology of the species of Eschatocerus and their galls is described. Host plant associations are given, and the terminal larva of Eschatocerus niger is described for the first time. Preliminary notes on the inquiline and parasitoid community associated with the galls of Eschatocerus species are also given.

  7. Insect galls from Serra de São José (Tiradentes, MG, Brazil).

    PubMed

    Maia, V C; Fernandes, G W

    2004-08-01

    One hundred thirty-seven morphotypes of insect galls were found on 73 plant species (47 genera and 30 families) in Serra de São José, in Tiradentes, MG, Brazil. Fabaceae, Myrtaceae, Asteraceae, and Melastomataceae were the plant families that supported most of the galls (49.6% of the total). Galls were mostly found on leaves and stems (66.4% and 25.5%, respectively). Galls were induced by Diptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera (Sternorrhyncha), Hymenoptera, and Thysanoptera. The majority of them (73.7%) were induced by gall midges (Cecidomyiidae: Diptera). Besides the gall inducers, other insects found associated with the galls were parasitoids (Hymenoptera), inquilines (Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, and Hemiptera), and predators (Diptera).

  8. Revision of the Neotropical genus Eschatocerus Mayr (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Eschatocerini) with biological notes and the first description of the terminal larva.

    PubMed

    Nieves-Aldrey, José Luis; San Blas, Germán

    2015-01-01

    The gall wasp genus Eschatocerus (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Eschatocerini), a cynipid genus of gall inducers on Prosopis and Acacia species (Fabaceae), endemic to southern South America, is revised. Complete descriptions of the external morphology of the genus and its three known species, illustrated with scanning electron photographs, are given for the first time, and an updated key for the identification of the species is provided. The biology of the species of Eschatocerus and their galls is described. Host plant associations are given, and the terminal larva of Eschatocerus niger is described for the first time. Preliminary notes on the inquiline and parasitoid community associated with the galls of Eschatocerus species are also given. PMID:26623849

  9. The origin and genetic differentiation of the socially parasitic aphid Tamalia inquilinus.

    PubMed

    Miller, Donald G; Lawson, Sarah P; Rinker, David C; Estby, Heather; Abbot, Patrick

    2015-11-01

    Social and brood parasitisms are nonconsumptive forms of parasitism involving the exploitation of the colonies or nests of a host. Such parasites are often related to their hosts and may evolve in various ecological contexts, causing evolutionary constraints and opportunities for both parasites and their hosts. In extreme cases, patterns of diversification between social parasites and their hosts can be coupled, such that diversity of one is correlated with or even shapes the diversity of the other. Aphids in the genus Tamalia induce galls on North American manzanita (Arctostaphylos) and related shrubs (Arbutoideae) and are parasitized by nongalling social parasites or inquilines in the same genus. We used RNA sequencing to identify and generate new gene sequences for Tamalia and performed maximum-likelihood, Bayesian and phylogeographic analyses to reconstruct the origins and patterns of diversity and host-associated differentiation in the genus. Our results indicate that the Tamalia inquilines are monophyletic and closely related to their gall-forming hosts on Arctostaphylos, supporting a previously proposed scenario for origins of these parasitic aphids. Unexpectedly, population structure and host-plant-associated differentiation were greater in the non-gall-inducing parasites than in their gall-inducing hosts. RNA-seq indicated contrasting patterns of gene expression between host aphids and parasites, and perhaps functional differences in host-plant relationships. Our results suggest a mode of speciation in which host plants drive within-guild diversification in insect hosts and their parasites. Shared host plants may be sufficient to promote the ecological diversification of a network of phytophagous insects and their parasites, as exemplified by Tamalia aphids.

  10. Biogeographic barriers drive co-diversification within associated eukaryotes of the Sarracenia alata pitcher plant system.

    PubMed

    Satler, Jordan D; Zellmer, Amanda J; Carstens, Bryan C

    2016-01-01

    Understanding if the members of an ecological community have co-diversified is a central concern of evolutionary biology, as co-diversification suggests prolonged association and possible coevolution. By sampling associated species from an ecosystem, researchers can better understand how abiotic and biotic factors influence diversification in a region. In particular, studies of co-distributed species that interact ecologically can allow us to disentangle the effect of how historical processes have helped shape community level structure and interactions. Here we investigate the Sarracenia alata pitcher plant system, an ecological community where many species from disparate taxonomic groups live inside the fluid-filled pitcher leaves. Direct sequencing of the eukaryotes present in the pitcher plant fluid enables us to better understand how a host plant can shape and contribute to the genetic structure of its associated inquilines, and to ask whether genetic variation in the taxa are structured in a similar manner to the host plant. We used 454 amplicon-based metagenomics to demonstrate that the pattern of genetic diversity in many, but not all, of the eukaryotic community is similar to that of S. alata, providing evidence that associated eukaryotes share an evolutionary history with the host pitcher plant. Our work provides further evidence that a host plant can influence the evolution of its associated commensals. PMID:26788436

  11. Diversity of insect galls associated with coastal shrub vegetation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Carvalho-Fernandes, Sheila P; Ascendino, Sharlene; Maia, Valéria C; Couri, Márcia S

    2016-09-01

    Surveys in the coastal sandy plains (restingas) of Rio de Janeiro have shown a great richness of galls. We investigated the galling insects in two preserved restingas areas of Rio de Janeiro state: Parque Estadual da Costa do Sol and Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Fazenda Caruara. The collections were done each two months, from June 2011 to May 2012. We investigated 38 points during 45 minutes each per collection. The galls were taken to the laboratory for rearing the insects. A total number of 151 insect galls were found in 82 plant species distributed into 34 botanic families. Most of the galls occurred on leaves and the plant families with the highest richness of galls were Myrtaceae and Fabaceae. All the six insect orders with galling species were found in this survey, where Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) was the main galler group. Hymenoptera and Thysanoptera were found as parasitoids and inquilines in 29 galls. The richness of galls in the surveyed areas reveals the importance of restinga for the composition and diversity of gall-inducing insect fauna.

  12. Biogeographic barriers drive co-diversification within associated eukaryotes of the Sarracenia alata pitcher plant system

    PubMed Central

    Satler, Jordan D.; Zellmer, Amanda J.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding if the members of an ecological community have co-diversified is a central concern of evolutionary biology, as co-diversification suggests prolonged association and possible coevolution. By sampling associated species from an ecosystem, researchers can better understand how abiotic and biotic factors influence diversification in a region. In particular, studies of co-distributed species that interact ecologically can allow us to disentangle the effect of how historical processes have helped shape community level structure and interactions. Here we investigate the Sarracenia alata pitcher plant system, an ecological community where many species from disparate taxonomic groups live inside the fluid-filled pitcher leaves. Direct sequencing of the eukaryotes present in the pitcher plant fluid enables us to better understand how a host plant can shape and contribute to the genetic structure of its associated inquilines, and to ask whether genetic variation in the taxa are structured in a similar manner to the host plant. We used 454 amplicon-based metagenomics to demonstrate that the pattern of genetic diversity in many, but not all, of the eukaryotic community is similar to that of S. alata, providing evidence that associated eukaryotes share an evolutionary history with the host pitcher plant. Our work provides further evidence that a host plant can influence the evolution of its associated commensals. PMID:26788436

  13. Dissecting host-associated communities with DNA barcodes

    PubMed Central

    Pierce, Naomi E.

    2016-01-01

    DNA barcoding and metabarcoding methods have been invaluable in the study of interactions between host organisms and their symbiotic communities. Barcodes can help identify individual symbionts that are difficult to distinguish using morphological characters, and provide a way to classify undescribed species. Entire symbiont communities can be characterized rapidly using barcoding and especially metabarcoding methods, which is often crucial for isolating ecological signal from the substantial variation among individual hosts. Furthermore, barcodes allow the evolutionary histories of symbionts and their hosts to be assessed simultaneously and in reference to one another. Here, we describe three projects illustrating the utility of barcodes for studying symbiotic interactions: first, we consider communities of arthropods found in the ant-occupied domatia of the East African ant-plant Vachellia (Acacia) drepanolobium; second, we examine communities of arthropod and protozoan inquilines in three species of Nepenthes pitcher plant in South East Asia; third, we investigate communities of gut bacteria of South American ants in the genus Cephalotes. Advances in sequencing and computation, and greater database connectivity, will continue to expand the utility of barcoding methods for the study of species interactions, especially if barcoding can be approached flexibly by making use of alternative genetic loci, metagenomes and whole-genome data. This article is part of the themed issue ‘From DNA barcodes to biomes’. PMID:27481780

  14. Holopothrips molzi sp.n. (Thysanoptera, Phlaeothripidae): natural history and interactions in Myrtaceae galls.

    PubMed

    Lindner, Mariana Flores; Mendonça, Milton De Souza Jr; Cavalleri, Adriano

    2016-01-01

    Holopothrips molzi sp. n. (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) is described from southern Brazil inducing leaf galls on Myrcia guianensis (Myrtaceae). Field observations revealed that the numbers of this thrips were highly variable within galls, and two other insect species were recorded living in these galls: Myrciathrips variabilis Cavalleri et al. (Phlaeothripidae) and an eulophid wasp (Hymenoptera). We investigated here if morphological traits of leaf and gall and abundance of the invader thrips were correlated with the gall inducer's abundance. In order to determine the feeding habit and behaviour of M. variabilis and its interactions with the gall inducer we performed observations ad libitum and attack simulation tests on both thrips species to observe their response to possible invaders. Our results showed that leaf size is not related to H. molzi abundance, and gall size is relevant only when total numbers of both thrips species are considered. Myrciathrips variabilis was observed feeding on gall tissues, and no direct antagonistic interactions between the two thrips were recorded. The results of the behavioural tests simulating attacks were remarkably different in the two thrips species, indicating different strategies when threatened or disturbed. The interaction between the two thrips species is probably a case of inquilinism. PMID:27395120

  15. Diversity of insect galls associated with coastal shrub vegetation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Carvalho-Fernandes, Sheila P; Ascendino, Sharlene; Maia, Valéria C; Couri, Márcia S

    2016-09-01

    Surveys in the coastal sandy plains (restingas) of Rio de Janeiro have shown a great richness of galls. We investigated the galling insects in two preserved restingas areas of Rio de Janeiro state: Parque Estadual da Costa do Sol and Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Fazenda Caruara. The collections were done each two months, from June 2011 to May 2012. We investigated 38 points during 45 minutes each per collection. The galls were taken to the laboratory for rearing the insects. A total number of 151 insect galls were found in 82 plant species distributed into 34 botanic families. Most of the galls occurred on leaves and the plant families with the highest richness of galls were Myrtaceae and Fabaceae. All the six insect orders with galling species were found in this survey, where Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) was the main galler group. Hymenoptera and Thysanoptera were found as parasitoids and inquilines in 29 galls. The richness of galls in the surveyed areas reveals the importance of restinga for the composition and diversity of gall-inducing insect fauna. PMID:27627066

  16. The family Cavognathidae (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea) in Argentina and adjacent countries.

    PubMed

    Iorio, Osvaldo Di; Turienzo, Paola

    2016-01-01

    The family Cavognathidae (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea) in Argentina is represented by three species of the genus Taphropiestes Reitter, 1875: T. fusca Reitter, 1875 [Chubut], T. magna Ślipiński & Tomaszewska, 2010 [Río Negro; Chubut], and T. plaumanni Ślipiński & Tomaszewska 2010 [Buenos Aires]. A total of 2565 larvae (multiple instars), 83 pupae, 2028 live adults, and 16 dead adults of T. plaumanni were found in Argentina between 2005 and 2013 in the nests of birds representing the families Columbidae, Emberizidae, Falconidae, Furnariidae, Hirundinidae, Mimidae, Passeridae, Psittacidae, Troglodytidae and Tyrannidae. The adults were most abundant in closed mud nests of Furnarius rufus (Gmelin, 1788) [Furnariidae] and its inquiline birds, but the larvae were most abundant in wood nest boxes. When T. plaumanni was scarcely represented in bird nests from some localities, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer, 1797), an exotic darkling beetle [Col.: Tenebrionidae: Tenebrioninae], and one native species, Phobelius crenatus Blanchard, 1842 [Col.: Tenebrionidae: Lagriinae], were most abundant in stick nests of Furnariidae. In contrast, when A. diaperinus and P. crenatus were absent in one locality from the province of Buenos Aires, T. plaumanni was the most abundant beetle. A complete account of data is provided for these collections of T. plaumanni in Argentina. Known distributional data for all Argentinian species of Taphropiestes are plotted on maps with biogeographical provinces indicated. PMID:27394368

  17. Dissecting host-associated communities with DNA barcodes.

    PubMed

    Baker, Christopher C M; Bittleston, Leonora S; Sanders, Jon G; Pierce, Naomi E

    2016-09-01

    DNA barcoding and metabarcoding methods have been invaluable in the study of interactions between host organisms and their symbiotic communities. Barcodes can help identify individual symbionts that are difficult to distinguish using morphological characters, and provide a way to classify undescribed species. Entire symbiont communities can be characterized rapidly using barcoding and especially metabarcoding methods, which is often crucial for isolating ecological signal from the substantial variation among individual hosts. Furthermore, barcodes allow the evolutionary histories of symbionts and their hosts to be assessed simultaneously and in reference to one another. Here, we describe three projects illustrating the utility of barcodes for studying symbiotic interactions: first, we consider communities of arthropods found in the ant-occupied domatia of the East African ant-plant Vachellia (Acacia) drepanolobium; second, we examine communities of arthropod and protozoan inquilines in three species of Nepenthes pitcher plant in South East Asia; third, we investigate communities of gut bacteria of South American ants in the genus Cephalotes Advances in sequencing and computation, and greater database connectivity, will continue to expand the utility of barcoding methods for the study of species interactions, especially if barcoding can be approached flexibly by making use of alternative genetic loci, metagenomes and whole-genome data.This article is part of the themed issue 'From DNA barcodes to biomes'. PMID:27481780

  18. Molecular phylogeny of fire ants of the Solenopsis saevissima species-group based on mtDNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, D DeWayne; Ahrens, Michael E; Ross, Kenneth G

    2006-01-01

    The systematics of South American fire ants (Solenopsis saevissima species-group) has been plagued by difficulties in recognizing species and their relationships on the basis of morphological characters. We surveyed mtDNA sequences from 623 individuals representing 13 described and undescribed species within the species-group and 18 individuals representing other major Solenopsis lineages to generate a phylogeny of the mitochondrial genome. Our analyses support the monophyly of the S. saevissima species-group, consistent with a single Neotropical origin and radiation of this important group of ants, as well as the monophyly of the socially polymorphic species within the group, consistent with a single origin of polygyny (multiple queens per colony) as a derived form of social organization. The mtDNA sequences of the inquiline social parasite S. daguerrei form a clade that appears to be distantly related to sequences from the several host species, consistent with the view that advanced social parasitism did not evolve via sympatric speciation of intraspecific parasites. An important general finding is that species-level polyphyly of the mtDNA appears to be the rule in this group of ants. The existence of multiple divergent mtDNA lineages within several nominal species (including the pest S. invicta) suggests that the pattern of widespread polyphyly often stems from morphological delimitation that overcircumscribes species. However, in two cases the mtDNA polyphyly likely results from recent interspecific hybridization. While resolving species boundaries and relationships is important for understanding general patterns of diversification of South American fire ants, these issues are of added importance because invasive fire ants are emerging as global pests and becoming important model organisms for evolutionary research.

  19. Patterns of Genetic and Reproductive Traits Differentiation in Mainland vs. Corsican Populations of Bumblebees

    PubMed Central

    Lecocq, Thomas; Vereecken, Nicolas J.; Michez, Denis; Dellicour, Simon; Lhomme, Patrick; Valterová, Irena; Rasplus, Jean-Yves; Rasmont, Pierre

    2013-01-01

    Populations on islands often exhibit lower levels of genetic variation and ecomorphological divergence compared to their mainland relatives. While phenotypic differentiation in characters, such as size or shape among insular organisms, has been well studied, insular differentiation in quantitative reproductive traits involved in chemical communication has received very little attention to date. Here, we investigated the impact of insularity on two syntopic bumblebee species pairs: one including species that are phylogenetically related (Bombus terrestris and B. lucorum), and the other including species that interact ecologically (B. terrestris and its specific nest inquiline B. vestalis). For each bumblebee species, we characterized the patterns of variation and differentiation of insular (Corsican) vs. mainland (European) populations (i) with four genes (nuclear and mitochondrial, 3781 bp) and (ii) in the chemical composition of male marking secretions (MMS), a key trait for mate attraction in bumblebees, by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Our results provide evidence for genetic differentiation in Corsican bumblebees and show that, contrary to theoretical expectations, island populations of bumblebees exhibit levels of genetic variation similar to the mainland populations. Likewise, our comparative chemical analyses of MMS indicate that Corsican populations of bumblebees are significantly differentiated from the mainland yet they hold comparative levels of within-population MMS variability compared to the mainland. Therefore, insularity has led Corsican populations to diverge both genetically and chemically from their mainland relatives, presumably through genetic drift, but without a decrease of genetic diversity in island populations. We hypothesize that MMS divergence in Corsican bumblebees was driven by a persistent lack of gene flow with mainland populations and reinforced by the preference of Corsican females for sympatric (Corsican) MMS. The

  20. Diverse Filters to Sense: Great Variability of Antennal Morphology and Sensillar Equipment in Gall-Wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae)

    PubMed Central

    Polidori, Carlo; Nieves-Aldrey, José L.

    2014-01-01

    Comparative studies on antennal sensillar equipment in insects are largely lacking, despite their potential to provide insights into both ecological and phylogenetic relationships. Here we present the first comparative study on antennal morphology and sensillar equipment in female Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera), a large and diverse group of wasps, with special reference to the so-called gall-wasps (Cynipidae). A SEM analysis was conducted on 51 species from all extant cynipoid families and all cynipid tribes, and spanning all known life-histories in the superfamily (gall-inducers, gall-inquilines, and non-gall associated parasitoids). The generally filiform, rarely clavate, antennal flagellum of Cynipoidea harbours overall 12 types of sensilla: s. placoidea (SP), two types of s. coeloconica (SCo-A, SCo-B), s. campaniformia (SCa), s. basiconica (SB), five types of s. trichoidea (ST-A, B, C, D, E), large disc sensilla (LDS) and large volcano sensilla (LVS). We found a great variability in sensillar equipment both among and within lineages. However, few traits seem to be unique to specific cynipid tribes. Paraulacini are, for example, distinctive in having apical LVS; Pediaspidini are unique in having ≥3 rows of SP, each including 6–8 sensilla per flagellomere, and up to 7 SCo-A in a single flagellomere; Eschatocerini have by far the largest SCo-A. Overall, our data preliminarily suggest a tendency to decreased numbers of SP rows per flagellomere and increased relative size of SCo-A during cynipoid evolution. Furthermore, SCo-A size seems to be higher in species inducing galls in trees than in those inducing galls in herbs. On the other hand, ST seem to be more abundant on the antennae of herb-gallers than wood-gallers. The antennal morphology and sensillar equipment in Cynipoidea are the complex results of different interacting pressures that need further investigations to be clarified. PMID:25003514

  1. Animal Behavior Frozen in Time: Gregarious Behavior of Early Jurassic Lobsters within an Ammonoid Body Chamber

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.; Fraaije, René H. B.

    2012-01-01

    Direct animal behavior can be inferred from the fossil record only in exceptional circumstances. The exceptional mode of preservation of ammonoid shells in the Posidonia Shale (Lower Jurassic, lower Toarcian) of Dotternhausen in southern Germany, with only the organic periostracum preserved, provides an excellent opportunity to observe the contents of the ammonoid body chamber because this periostracum is translucent. Here, we report upon three delicate lobsters preserved within a compressed ammonoid specimen of Harpoceras falciferum. We attempt to explain this gregarious behavior. The three lobsters were studied using standard microscopy under low angle light. The lobsters belong to the extinct family of the Eryonidae; further identification was not possible. The organic material of the three small lobsters is preserved more than halfway into the ammonoid body chamber. The lobsters are closely spaced and are positioned with their tails oriented toward each other. The specimens are interpreted to represent corpses rather than molts. The lobsters probably sought shelter in preparation for molting or against predators such as fish that were present in Dotternhausen. Alternatively, the soft tissue of the ammonoid may have been a source of food that attracted the lobsters, or it may have served as a long-term residency for the lobsters (inquilinism). The lobsters represent the oldest known example of gregariousness amongst lobsters and decapods in the fossil record. Gregarious behavior in lobsters, also known for extant lobsters, thus developed earlier in earth's history than previously known. Moreover, this is one of the oldest known examples of decapod crustaceans preserved within cephalopod shells. PMID:22412846

  2. High Levels of Multiple Infections, Recombination and Horizontal Transmission of Wolbachia in the Andricus mukaigawae (Hymenoptera; Cynipidae) Communities

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Xiao-Hui; Zhu, Dao-Hong; Liu, Zhiwei; Zhao, Ling; Su, Cheng-Yuan

    2013-01-01

    Wolbachia are maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria of arthropods and nematodes. In arthropods, they manipulate the reproduction of their hosts to facilitate their own spread in host populations, causing cytoplasmic incompatibility, parthenogenesis induction, feminization of genetic males and male-killing. In this study, we investigated Wolbachia infection and studied wsp (Wolbachia surface protein) sequences in three wasp species associated with the unisexual galls of A. mukaigawae with the aim of determining the transmission mode and the reason for multiple infections of Wolbachia. Frequency of Wolbachia infected populations for A. mukaigawae, Synergus japonicus (inquiline), and Torymus sp. (parasitoid) was 75%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. Multiple Wolbachia infections were detected in A. mukaigawae and S. japonicus, with 5 and 8 Wolbachia strains, respectively. The two host species shared 5 Wolbachia strains and were infected by identical strains in several locations, indicating horizontal transmission of Wolbachia. The transmission potentially takes place through gall tissues, which the larvae of both wasps feed on. Furthermore, three recombination events of Wolbachia were observed: the strains W8, W2 and W6 apparently have derived from W3 and W5a, W6 and W7, W4 and W9, respectively. W8 and W2 and their respective parental strains were detected in S. japonicus. W6 was detected with only one parent (W4) in S. japonicus; W9 was detected in Torymus sp., suggesting horizontal transmission between hosts and parasitoids. In conclusion, our research supports earlier studies that horizontal transmission of Wolbachia, a symbiont of the Rickettsiales order, may be plant-mediated or take place between hosts and parasitoids. Our research provides novel molecular evidence for multiple recombination events of Wolbachia in gall wasp communities. We suggest that genomic recombination and potential plant-mediated horizontal transmission may be attributable to the high

  3. Breaking up the Wall: Metal-Enrichment in Ovipositors, but Not in Mandibles, Co-Varies with Substrate Hardness in Gall-Wasps and Their Associates

    PubMed Central

    Polidori, Carlo; García, Alberto Jorge; Nieves-Aldrey, José L.

    2013-01-01

    The cuticle of certain insect body parts can be hardened by the addition of metals, and because niche separation may require morphological adaptations, inclusion of such metals may be linked to life history traits. Here, we analysed the distribution and enrichment of metals in the mandibles and ovipositors of a large family of gall-inducing wasps (Cynipidae, or Gall-Wasps) (plus one gall-inducing Chalcidoidea), and their associated wasps (gall-parasitoids and gall-inquilines) (Cynipidae, Chalcidoidea and Ichneumonoidea). Both plant types/organs where galls are induced, as well as galls themselves, vary considerably in hardness, thus making this group of wasps an ideal model to test if substrate hardness can predict metal enrichment. Non-galler, parasitic Cynipoidea attacking unconcealed hosts were used as ecological “outgroup”. With varying occurrence and concentration, Zn, Mn and Cu were detected in mandibles and ovipositors of the studied species. Zn tends be exclusively concentrated at the distal parts of the organs, while Mn and Cu showed a linear increase from the proximal to the distal parts of the organs. In general, we found that most of species having metal-enriched ovipositors (independently of metal type and concentration) were gall-invaders. Among gall-inducers, metals in the ovipositors were more likely to be found in species inducing galls in woody plants. Overall, a clear positive effect of substrate hardness on metal concentration was detected for all the three metals. Phylogenetic relationships among species, as suggested by the most recent estimates, seemed to have a weak role in explaining metal variation. On the other hand, no relationships were found between substrate hardness or gall-association type and concentration of metals in mandibles. We suggest that ecological pressures related to oviposition were sufficiently strong to drive changes in ovipositor elemental structure in these gall-associated Hymenoptera. PMID:23894668

  4. Adaptive Radiation in Socially Advanced Stem-Group Ants from the Cretaceous.

    PubMed

    Barden, Phillip; Grimaldi, David A

    2016-02-22

    Across terrestrial ecosystems, modern ants are ubiquitous. As many as 94 out of every 100 individual arthropods in rainforests are ants, and they constitute up to 15% of animal biomass in the Amazon. Moreover, ants are pervasive agents of natural selection as over 10,000 arthropod species are specialized inquilines or myrmecomorphs living among ants or defending themselves through mimicry. Such impact is traditionally explained by sociality: ants are the first major group of ground-dwelling predatory insects to become eusocial, increasing efficiency of tasks and establishing competitive superiority over solitary species. A wealth of specimens from rich deposits of 99 million-year-old Burmese amber resolves ambiguity regarding sociality and diversity in the earliest ants. The stem-group genus Gerontoformica maintained distinct reproductive castes including morphotypes unknown in solitary aculeate (stinging) wasps, providing insight into early behavior. We present rare aggregations of workers, indicating group recruitment as well as an instance of interspecific combat; such aggression is a social feature of modern ants. Two species and an unusual new genus are described, further expanding the remarkable diversity of early ants. Stem-group ants are recovered as a paraphyletic assemblage at the base of modern lineages varying greatly in size, form, and mouthpart structure, interpreted here as an adaptive radiation. Though Cretaceous stem-group ants were eusocial and adaptively diverse, we hypothesize that their extinction resulted from the rise of competitively superior crown-group taxa that today form massive colonies, consistent with Wilson and Hölldobler's concept of "dynastic succession." PMID:26877084

  5. Diverse filters to sense: great variability of antennal morphology and sensillar equipment in gall-wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae).

    PubMed

    Polidori, Carlo; Nieves-Aldrey, José L

    2014-01-01

    Comparative studies on antennal sensillar equipment in insects are largely lacking, despite their potential to provide insights into both ecological and phylogenetic relationships. Here we present the first comparative study on antennal morphology and sensillar equipment in female Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera), a large and diverse group of wasps, with special reference to the so-called gall-wasps (Cynipidae). A SEM analysis was conducted on 51 species from all extant cynipoid families and all cynipid tribes, and spanning all known life-histories in the superfamily (gall-inducers, gall-inquilines, and non-gall associated parasitoids). The generally filiform, rarely clavate, antennal flagellum of Cynipoidea harbours overall 12 types of sensilla: s. placoidea (SP), two types of s. coeloconica (SCo-A, SCo-B), s. campaniformia (SCa), s. basiconica (SB), five types of s. trichoidea (ST-A, B, C, D, E), large disc sensilla (LDS) and large volcano sensilla (LVS). We found a great variability in sensillar equipment both among and within lineages. However, few traits seem to be unique to specific cynipid tribes. Paraulacini are, for example, distinctive in having apical LVS; Pediaspidini are unique in having ≥3 rows of SP, each including 6-8 sensilla per flagellomere, and up to 7 SCo-A in a single flagellomere; Eschatocerini have by far the largest SCo-A. Overall, our data preliminarily suggest a tendency to decreased numbers of SP rows per flagellomere and increased relative size of SCo-A during cynipoid evolution. Furthermore, SCo-A size seems to be higher in species inducing galls in trees than in those inducing galls in herbs. On the other hand, ST seem to be more abundant on the antennae of herb-gallers than wood-gallers. The antennal morphology and sensillar equipment in Cynipoidea are the complex results of different interacting pressures that need further investigations to be clarified.

  6. Breaking up the wall: metal-enrichment in Ovipositors, but not in mandibles, co-varies with substrate hardness in gall-wasps and their associates.

    PubMed

    Polidori, Carlo; García, Alberto Jorge; Nieves-Aldrey, José L

    2013-01-01

    The cuticle of certain insect body parts can be hardened by the addition of metals, and because niche separation may require morphological adaptations, inclusion of such metals may be linked to life history traits. Here, we analysed the distribution and enrichment of metals in the mandibles and ovipositors of a large family of gall-inducing wasps (Cynipidae, or Gall-Wasps) (plus one gall-inducing Chalcidoidea), and their associated wasps (gall-parasitoids and gall-inquilines) (Cynipidae, Chalcidoidea and Ichneumonoidea). Both plant types/organs where galls are induced, as well as galls themselves, vary considerably in hardness, thus making this group of wasps an ideal model to test if substrate hardness can predict metal enrichment. Non-galler, parasitic Cynipoidea attacking unconcealed hosts were used as ecological "outgroup". With varying occurrence and concentration, Zn, Mn and Cu were detected in mandibles and ovipositors of the studied species. Zn tends be exclusively concentrated at the distal parts of the organs, while Mn and Cu showed a linear increase from the proximal to the distal parts of the organs. In general, we found that most of species having metal-enriched ovipositors (independently of metal type and concentration) were gall-invaders. Among gall-inducers, metals in the ovipositors were more likely to be found in species inducing galls in woody plants. Overall, a clear positive effect of substrate hardness on metal concentration was detected for all the three metals. Phylogenetic relationships among species, as suggested by the most recent estimates, seemed to have a weak role in explaining metal variation. On the other hand, no relationships were found between substrate hardness or gall-association type and concentration of metals in mandibles. We suggest that ecological pressures related to oviposition were sufficiently strong to drive changes in ovipositor elemental structure in these gall-associated Hymenoptera.

  7. Geographic variation in the evolution and coevolution of a tritrophic interaction.

    PubMed

    Craig, Timothy P; Itami, Joanne K; Horner, John D

    2007-05-01

    The geographic mosaic theory of coevolution predicts that geographic variation in species interactions will lead to differing selective pressures on interacting species, producing geographic variation in the traits of interacting species (Thompson 2005). We supported this hypothesis in a study of the geographic variation in the interactions among Eurosta solidaginis and its natural enemies. Eurosta solidaginis is a fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) that induces galls on subspecies of tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima altissima and S. a. gilvocanescens. We measured selection on E. solidaginis gall size and shape in the prairie and forest biomes in Minnesota and North Dakota over an 11-year period. Galls were larger and more spherical in the prairie than in the forest. We supported the hypothesis that the divergence in gall morphology in the two biomes is due to different selection regimes exerted by natural enemies of E. solidaginis. Each natural enemy exerted similar selection on gall diameter in both biomes, but differences in the frequency of natural enemy attack created strong differences in overall selection between the prairie and forest. Bird predation increased with gall diameter, creating selection for smaller-diameter galls. A parasitic wasp, Eurytoma gigantea, and Mordellistena convicta, an inquiline beetle, both caused higher E. solidaginis mortality in smaller galls, exerting selection for increased gall diameter. In the forest there was stabilizing selection on gall diameter due to a combination of bird predation on larvae in large galls, and M. convicta- and E. gigantea-induced mortality on larvae in small galls. In the prairie there was directional selection for larger galls due to M. convicta and E. gigantea mortality on larvae in small galls. Mordellistena convicta-induced mortality was consistently higher in the prairie than in the forest, whereas there was no significant difference in E. gigantea-induced mortality between biomes. Bird predation was

  8. The habitat engineering tunicate Microcosmus sabatieri Roule, 1885 and its associated peracarid epifauna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voultsiadou, Eleni; Pyrounaki, Maria-Myrto; Chintiroglou, Chariton

    2007-08-01

    The solitary ascidian Microcosmus sabatieri is a common ecosystem engineering species on hard bottom sublittoral communities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Peracarida are common inhabitants of biological substrata, such as algae, sponges and ascidians and have been proven to be very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. The aim of this study was to present and analyse, for the first time, the structure of the peracarid epifaunal assemblage inhabiting this Mediterranean endemic, edible and commercially exploited species. During sampling in the North Aegean Sea, 41 specimens were collected and examined for their peracarid epifauna. Overall, 38 peracarid species were identified, a high number in comparison to those recorded in the few other relevant studies on ascidian epifauna. The great majority of the species were amphipods. By contrast, in terms of abundance, tanaidaceans was the dominant taxon, with Leptochelia savigni being by far the most dominant species. Tube-dwelling suspension-feeders dominated the peracarid epifauna of this tunicate. The suspension feeding mode of epifaunal peracarids is possibly favoured by the high filtration rate of M. sabatieri which is large sized and has an extensive branchial surface. It is suggested that the tube-dwelling habit of tanaidaceans and some amphipods offering extra protection, may further explain their dominance as elements of the epifauna, in contrast to other inquiline peracarids which prefer to search for shelter inside the canals of sponges or, in a few cases inside the mantle cavity of ascidians. Differences in peracarid abundance among the ascidian specimens were attributed to the reproductive and dispersal habits of the former. Species richness, abundance and diversity of the motile peracarid epifauna was dependent on the biomass of the ascidian, but most strongly on the biomass of the sessile epibiontic organisms, such as algae and sponges which, in some cases, had a higher biomass than the ascidian

  9. A systematic revision of Operclipygus Marseul (Coleoptera, Histeridae, Exosternini)

    PubMed Central

    Caterino, Michael S.; Tishechkin, Alexey K.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract We revise the large Neotropical genus Operclipygus Marseul, in the histerid tribe Exosternini (Histeridae: Histerinae). We synonymize 3 species, move 14 species from other genera, sink the genus Tribalister Horn into Operclipygus, and describe 138 species as new, bringing the total to 177 species of Operclipygus. Keys are provided for the identification of all species, and the majority of the species are illustrated by habitus and male genitalia illustrations. The species are diverse throughout tropical South and Central America, with only a few species extending into the temperate parts of North America. The majority of species can be recognized by the presence of a distinct stria or sulcus along the apical margin of the pygidium, though it is not exclusive to the genus. Natural history details for species of Operclipygus are scant, as most specimens have been collected through the use of passive flight interception traps. Many are probably generally associated with decaying vegetation and leaf litter, where they prey on small arthropods. But a small proportion are known inquilines, with social insects such as ants and termites, and also with some burrowing mammals, such as Ctenomys Blainville. The genus now includes the following species groups and species: Operclipygus sulcistrius group [Operclipygus lucanoides sp. n., Operclipygus schmidti sp. n., Operclipygus simplistrius sp. n., Operclipygus sulcistrius Marseul, 1870], Operclipygus mirabilis group [Operclipygus mirabilis (Wenzel & Dybas, 1941) comb. n., Operclipygus pustulifer sp. n., Operclipygus plaumanni sp. n., Operclipygus sinuatus sp. n., Operclipygus mutuca sp. n., Operclipygus carinistrius (Lewis, 1908) comb. n., Operclipygus parensis sp. n., Operclipygus schlingeri sp. n.], Operclipygus kerga group [Operclipygus kerga (Marseul, 1870), Operclipygus planifrons sp. n., Operclipygus punctistrius sp. n.], Operclipygus conquisitus group [Operclipygus bicolor sp. n., Operclipygus conquisitus (Lewis

  10. A systematic revision of Operclipygus Marseul (Coleoptera, Histeridae, Exosternini)

    PubMed Central

    Caterino, Michael S.; Tishechkin, Alexey K.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract We revise the large Neotropical genus Operclipygus Marseul, in the histerid tribe Exosternini (Histeridae: Histerinae). We synonymize 3 species, move 14 species from other genera, sink the genus Tribalister Horn into Operclipygus, and describe 138 species as new, bringing the total to 177 species of Operclipygus. Keys are provided for the identification of all species, and the majority of the species are illustrated by habitus and male genitalia illustrations. The species are diverse throughout tropical South and Central America, with only a few species extending into the temperate parts of North America. The majority of species can be recognized by the presence of a distinct stria or sulcus along the apical margin of the pygidium, though it is not exclusive to the genus. Natural history details for species of Operclipygus are scant, as most specimens have been collected through the use of passive flight interception traps. Many are probably generally associated with decaying vegetation and leaf litter, where they prey on small arthropods. But a small proportion are known inquilines, with social insects such as ants and termites, and also with some burrowing mammals, such as Ctenomys Blainville. The genus now includes the following species groups and species: Operclipygus sulcistrius group [Operclipygus lucanoides sp. n., Operclipygus schmidti sp. n., Operclipygus simplistrius sp. n., Operclipygus sulcistrius Marseul, 1870], Operclipygus mirabilis group [Operclipygus mirabilis (Wenzel & Dybas, 1941) comb. n., Operclipygus pustulifer sp. n., Operclipygus plaumanni sp. n., Operclipygus sinuatus sp. n., Operclipygus mutuca sp. n., Operclipygus carinistrius (Lewis, 1908) comb. n., Operclipygus parensis sp. n., Operclipygus schlingeri sp. n.], Operclipygus kerga group [Operclipygus kerga (Marseul, 1870), Operclipygus planifrons sp. n., Operclipygus punctistrius sp. n.], Operclipygus conquisitus group [Operclipygus bicolor sp. n., Operclipygus conquisitus (Lewis