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Comprehensive phylogenomic analyses re-write the evolution of parasitism within cynipoid wasps

Citation

Blaimer, Bonnie B; Gotzek, Dietrich; Brady, Seán G; Buffington, Matthew L (2020), Comprehensive phylogenomic analyses re-write the evolution of parasitism within cynipoid wasps, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tx95x69w6

Abstract

Background Parasitoidism, a specialized life strategy in which a parasite eventually kills its host, is frequently found within the insect order Hymenoptera (wasps, ants and bees). A parasitoid lifestyle is one of two dominant life strategies within the hymenopteran superfamily Cynipoidea, with the other being an unusual plant-feeding behavior known as galling. Less commonly cynipoid wasps exhibit inquilinism, a strategy where some species have adapted to usurp other species’ galls instead of inducing their own. Using a phylogenomic data set of ultraconserved elements from nearly all lineages of Cynipoidea, we here generate a robust phylogenetic framework and timescale to understand cynipoid systematics and the evolution of these life histories. Results Our reconstructed evolutionary history for Cynipoidea differs considerably from previous hypotheses. Rooting our analyses with non-cynipoid outgroups, the Paralaucini, a group of inquilines, emerged as sister-group to the rest of Cynipoidea, rendering the gall wasp family Cynipidae paraphyletic. The families Ibaliidae and Liopteridae, long considered archaic and early-branching parasitoid lineages, were found nested well within the Cynipoidea as sister-group to the parasitoid Figitidae. Cynipoidea originated in the early Jurassic around 190 Ma. Either inquilinism or parasitoidism is suggested as the ancestral and dominant strategy throughout the early evolution of cynipoids, depending on whether a simple (three states: parasitoidism, inquilinism and galling) or more complex (seven states: parasitoidism, inquilinism and galling split by host use) model is employed. Conclusions Our study has significant impact on understanding cynipoid evolution and highlights the importance of adequate outgroup sampling. We discuss the evolutionary timescale of the superfamily in relation to their insect hosts and host plants, and outline how phytophagous galling behavior may have evolved from entomophagous, parasitoid cynipoids. We hypothesize these seemingly diverging life strategies may be considered as specializations of a similar underlying molecular toolkit between which switches are possible. Our study has established the framework for further physiological and comparative genomic work between gall-making, inquiline and parasitoid lineages, which could also have significant implications for the evolution of diverse life histories in other Hymenoptera.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1555905

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1856626

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1856626