0609 Species delimitation in a taxonomically challenging genus:  Ophion (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) of Canada

Monday, December 13, 2010: 10:30 AM
Brittany (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Marla D. Schwarzfeld , Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Felix A. H. Sperling , Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Ophion is a genus of large nocturnal Ichneumonidae in the subfamily Ophioninae. Whereas the Ophioninae are generally more diverse in the tropics, Ophion is most diverse in temperate regions, with an estimated 50 Nearctic species. Most species are internal parasitoids of medium to large-sized Lepidoptera larvae, especially Noctuidae. They are frequently collected at light traps, and are common in most habitat types. However despite their abundance, ease of collection and conspicuous size, the Nearctic Ophion remain very little studied, with only twelve species described. Ophion are difficult to distinguish morphologically and have a great deal of intraspecific variability. Such species are often inaccurately or incompletely resolved with morphological analysis alone, and are thus well-suited to the use of molecular techniques. I am conducting a taxonomic study of Canadian Ophion, with an emphasis on western Canada, using a combined morphological and molecular approach. For the molecular analysis, I am sequencing both mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (ITS2, CAD) regions. For the morphological analysis I am using characters that have been found to be informative in Ophioninae in other geographic regions, as well as attempting to discover reliable characters that have not previously been examined. I am also conducting a morphometric analysis of wing venation, as a further tool to distinguish species. Preliminary results and implications of these analyses will be discussed.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.52756