Many species of Neotropical Braconinae in several genera such as Digonogastra, Cyanopterus, Leptobracon, and Lasiophorous belong to a presumably mimetic complex that includes thousands of species in nearly every order of winged insect. Representatives of this complex include approximately 1,300 species of Braconidae, 2,000 species of Ichneumonidae, at least 200 species of Symphyta, several hundred species of Reduviidae, and unknown numbers of Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Coleoptera. Some of the Braconine members of the complex have strong odors and can sting or bite. However, many members of the complex such as Alabagrus (Braconidae: Agathidinae) are not known to have obvious foul odors or to be able to sting or bite. One explanation for this observation, is that the members of the complex and their colors are generated by multiple cospeciation events, i.e., the constituent genera have isomorphic phylogenetic trees. An alternative explanation is that the organisms have colonized existing color pattern niches independently and do not have topologically similar phylogenetic histories. In order to test the hypothesis that these are the result of co-speciation events the patterns will be described and mapped onto a phylogenetic tree. If clades are found to have isomorphic topologies; evidence will suggest cospeciation. However, if clades are not found to have similar topologies, evidence will suggest independent colonization of color pattern niches.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Braconidae Cyanopterus
Species 2: Hymenoptera Braconidae Digonogastra
Species 3: Hemiptera Reduviidae
Keywords: mimicry, parasitoids
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA