Andricus miriami Shachar, 2015

Shachar, Einat, Melika, George, Inbar, Moshe & Dorchin, Netta, 2018, The oak gall wasps of Israel (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Cynipini) - diversity, distribution and life history, Zootaxa 4521 (4), pp. 451-498 : 465-466

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Andricus miriami Shachar, 2015


Andricus miriami Shachar, 2015

Andricus morula (Shachar, Inbar & Dorchin) , new synonym.

Host plants. Q. ithaburensis (asexual generation) and Q. libani and Q. cerris (sexual generation).

Life history. Prior to the present study, only the asexual generation of this species was known but recent molecular data suggest that Andricus morula ( Shachar et al. 2017) is actually the sexual generation of Andricus miriami (Shachar, unpublished data), therefore the association of the two generations is established here for the first time (but see discussion of previous suggestions under the comments section). Galls of the sexual generation develop in mulberry-like catkin galls, composed of 17–40 small units attached to the branch at their bases ( Figs 71–72 View FIGURES 71–74 ). Young galls are soft and green to light brown at their tips, and completely covered by white velvety hairs and coated by nectar that attracts other insects. Mature galls are 12–17 mm long, 10–14 mm wide, and their apical part turns darker. The asexual generation develops in large and conspicuous bud galls, 20–40 mm in diameter, composed of 10–40 mushroom-shaped units that are joined at their bases to form a sphere ( Fig. 43 View FIGURES 41–46 ). Each subunit contains several larval chambers. Young galls are green, soft, and completely covered by short, white fuzz, whereas mature galls are woody, with the white fuzz limited to the tips of units. Old galls may remain on the tree for several years ( Fig. 44 View FIGURES 41–46 ).

Phenology. Galls of the sexual generation begin to develop in April and mature in June through July, when they reach their final size. Adults emerge in July and early August, after which the galls dry up, become woody and may remain on the tree for another year. Galls of the asexual generation begin to develop towards the end of March and mature in September. Adults emerge in January.

Distribution. Israel: The sexual generation is currently known only from Israel: Mt. Hermon 1500 and 1780 m.a.s.l., Mt. Kahal. The asexual generation is common and widespread throughout the distribution range of the host plant and is has also been recorded from Jordan ( Nieves Aldrey & Massa 2006).

Comments. The name A. miriami has recently been validated in a formal description ( Shachar et al. 2015). Sternlicht (1968b, Fig. 29 View FIGURES 29–34 ) mentioned both the sexual and asexual generations of A. miriami and described their galls, but did not provide evidence for the association between them. More recently, Nieves Aldrey & Massa (2006) and Rizzo & Askew (2009) recorded A. miriami from Jordan, where they reported to have found galls of both generations, but again, did not say what this decision was based on and did not describe the actual wasps. Our unpublished molecular data indicate that the taxon attributed by Sternlicht (1968b) to the sexual generation of Andricus miriami is a distinct species, close to A. istvani , and that A. morula is genetically identical to A. miriami . Therefore, we synonymize here A. morula under A. miriami , and this species is now known from galls and adults of both generations.

Galls of the sexual generation of A. miriami resemble somewhat galls of the sexual generation of A. cecconii ( Figs 47–48 View FIGURES 47–52 ) but are much smaller, woodier, elongate rather than spherical, and always sticky with a velvety cover, whereas A. cecconii galls are never sticky and may or may not have a velvety cover. The asexual generation of Andricus turcicus Melika, Mutun & Dinç induces similar galls on Q. infectoria and Q. petraea in Turkey, but these are small and single-chambered compared to the big, multi-chambered galls of A. miriami .