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Botanical Sciences

versión On-line ISSN 2007-4476versión impresa ISSN 2007-4298


PASCUAL-ALVARADO, Enrique et al. Diversity of galls induced by wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae, Cynipini) associated with oaks (Fagaceae: Quercus) in Mexico. Bot. sci [online]. 2017, vol.95, n.3, pp.461-472. ISSN 2007-4476.


Gall-inducing insects make up a guild of highly specialized endophagous herbivores. The cynipids (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini) are highly diversified gall-inducing wasps that are largely associated with oaks (Fagaceae: Quercus). Mexico is one of the centers of diversification for the Quercus genus with 161 described species, of which 109 are endemic.

Questions / hypothesis:

The present study aims to identify the gall richness, gall morphological variation and degree of specificity to oaks in Mexico.


An intensive collection was conducted from March to September each year from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 80 oak species in 120 localities in Mexico.


A total of 224 morphologically distinct galls associated with 73 of the 80 oak species were found. The largest number of morphotypes was found in leaves (125), followed by branches (37), buds (31), petioles (20), catkins (5), acorns (3) and roots (3). The degree of specificity between the gall-inducing wasps and their hosts was highly variable; between one to 20 distinct gall morphotypes were found in each species. Only 23 oak species had a single gall morphotype associated.


This study demonstrates the important interaction between oaks and gall-inducing wasps, which is a very complex co-evolutionary process. It also shows the relevance of basic taxonomic studies of little-known groups such as gall-inducing wasps, especially in a highly biodiverse country such as Mexico.

Palabras llave : Cynipidae; herbivore guilds; insect specialization; plant – insect interaction; Quercus.

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