Evolution of behavior and host preferences of gracillariid leafminers (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae)

Monday, November 17, 2014: 9:12 AM
Portland Ballroom 253 (Oregon Convention Center)
David Plotkin , McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Akito Y. Kawahara , Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, FL
Gracillariid leaf mining moths constitute a diverse family with nearly 2000 described species. The full extent of its diversity and evolutionary history is still unknown. Over a dozen eudicot families have been traditionally associated as hosts for gracillariids, and the leaf mining larvae have evolved multiple behaviors to avoid parasitism while feeding. In order to determine the evolutionary history of leaf miner behavior, an updated phylogeny was created by incorporating anchored hybrid enrichment (AHE) data (over 500 genes) from select gracillariid taxa into ML and Bayesian analyses. Behavioral character data were obtained from the literature and subsequently mapped onto the phylogeny. Results indicate that larval feeding behaviors are relatively conserved whereas host preferences have undergone numerous shifts, with multiple instances of gracillariid species in different lineages independently evolving preferences for the same host family.