Rampant host switching and multiple female body colour transitions in Philotrypesis (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Agaonidae)


D. -W. Huang, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 25 Beisihuanxilu, Haidian, Beijing 100080, P.R. China.
Tel.: 86-10-62559639; fax: 86-10-62559639;
e-mail: huangdw@ioz.ac.cn


Figs (Ficus, Moraceae) and their associated fig waSPS (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea and Agaonidae) have attracted much attention and have been used as a model system for many studies. Fig waSPS belonging to the genus Philotrypesis are very common in most figs but their taxonomy, ecology and biology are currently poorly explored. A previous study on African Philotrypesis showed that their host association is phylogenetically conserved at subsection level. We reconstructed a molecular phylogeny with extended sampling from seven sections of figs. Our study suggested that the diversification of Philotrypesis is less constrained by host figs. Host switching is rampant between figs at species level and even at section level. We also investigated the evolution of the body colour forms in female Philotrypesis. Our study first suggested that female body colour is not evolutionarily stable and that there have been multiple transitions. Possible mechanisms for multiple colour transitions are expected to be determined in the near future.