JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effect of hybridization of the Quercus crassifolia x Quercus crassipes complex on the community structure of endophagous insects

Efraín Tovar-Sánchez, Ken Oyama
Oecologia 2006, 147 (4): 702-13
16463057
In a previous study, we showed that the geographic proximity of hybrid plants to the allopatric areas of parental species increases their morphological and genetic similarity with them. In the present work, we explored whether the endophagous fauna of hybrid plants show the same pattern. We studied the canopy species richness, diversity and composition of leaf-mining moths (Lepidoptera: Tischeridae, Citheraniidae) and gall-forming wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) associated with two species of red oaks (Quercus crassifolia and Quercus crassipes) and their interspecific hybrid (Quercusxdysophylla Benth pro sp.) in seven hybrid zones in central Mexico, during four seasons in 2 years. The study was conducted on 194 oak trees with known genetic status [identified by leaf morphology and molecular markers (random amplified polymorphic DNAs)], and the results indicate a bidirectional pattern of gene flow. Hybrid plants supported intermediate levels of infestation of gall-forming and leaf-mining insects compared to their putative parental species. The infestation level of leaf-mining insects varied significantly following the pattern: Q. crassifolia>hybrids>Q. crassipes, whereas the gall-forming insects showed an inverse pattern. A negative and significant relationship was found between these two types of insect guilds in each host taxa, when the infestation percentage was evaluated. It was found that 31.5% (n=11) of the endophagous insects were specific to Q. crassipes, 22.9% (n=8) to Q. crassifolia, and 8.6% (n=3) to hybrid individuals. The hybrid bridge hypothesis was supported in the case of 25.7% (n=9) of insects, which suggests that the presence of a hybrid intermediary plant may favor a host herbivore shift from one plant species to another. Greater genetic diversity in a hybrid zone is associated with greater diversity in the endophagous community. The geographic proximity of hybrid plants to the allopatric site of a parental species increases their similarity in terms of endophagous insects and the Eje Neovolcánico acts as a corridor favoring this pattern.

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