The evolution and adaptive significance of silk use in Meteorinae (Hymenoptera, Braconidae)
Nina Zitani, email@example.com, University of Western Ontario, Biology, Department of Biology, London, ON, Canada and Scott R. Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org, University of Wyoming, UW Insect Museum, Laramie, WY.
A cladistic analysis was undertaken in order to elucidate the evolutionary relationships among species of Meteorus with highly variant cocoon forms and biologies, and to re-evaluate the relationship between Meteorus and Zele. Sixteen species of Meteorus and two species of Zele were analyzed using maximum parsimony, with adult morphological characters and cocoon characters. Results support the monophyly of several clades, including the Meteorinae (Zele + Meteorus), Zele, Meteorus, and the corax species group of Meteorus. Additional biological and cocoon information was mapped onto the cladogram, and phylogenetic scenarios of silk use and host shifting are presented. The Meteorinae is hypothesized to have evolved from an ancestor that attacks exposed-feeding lepidopteran larvae and constructs a concealed, unsuspended cocoon. Constructing a suspended cocoon exposed on vegetation is hypothesized to be a preadaptation that allowed a host shift to a novel host group, the Papilionidae (Lepidoptera), which pupate exposed on vegetation.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Braconidae Zele Species 2: Hymenoptera Braconidae Meteorus Keywords: silk, phylogenetic analysis