Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 633–651 | Cite as

Effects of plant hybridization on the structure and composition of a highly rich community of cynipid gall wasps: the case of the oak hybrid complex Quercus magnoliifolia x Quercus resinosa in Mexico

  • Griselda Pérez-López
  • Antonio González-Rodríguez
  • Ken Oyama
  • Pablo Cuevas-Reyes
Original Paper


The richness and composition of herbivore communities can be influenced by the genetic variation of host plants. Hybrid plant populations are ideal to test these effects because they usually harbor high genetic variation and display a mosaic of phenotypic characters. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of hybridization between two Mexican white oaks, Q. magnoliifolia and Q. resinosa, on the composition and diversity of the associated cynipid gall wasp community. We used eight nuclear microsatellite markers to genotype 150 oak individuals sampled at three different altitudes at the Tequila volcano and conducted monthly samplings of galls in each individual over the course of 2 years. A Bayesian assignment analysis indicated genetic admixture between the two oak species at the study site and allowed classifying individuals as Q. magnoliifolia, Q. resinosa or hybrids. Gall morphospecies richness was significantly higher in the hybrids, intermediate in Q. magnoliifolia and lower in Q. resinosa. Overall, 48 different gall morphospecies were found, with 21 of them being shared among the three groups of plants, 13 between two groups of plants, and 14 were unique to one group of plants, with eight of these being found in hybrids. Several of the shared galls showed differences in abundance among plant groups. Therefore, genetic structure in this oak complex significantly influences the diversity and composition of the associated gall wasp community, and hybrid individuals are probably acting as potential sinks and bridges for the colonization of plant hosts by these highly specialized insect species.


Bayesian assignment Microsatellites Fagaceae Hybrid sink hypothesis Cynipids 



This project was supported by CONACYT project CB105755 and DGAPA-PAPIIT-UNAM project RV201015. Cuevas-Reyes P thanks Coordinación de la Investigación Científica UMSNH for their generous support. We also thank V. Rocha for technical assistance with microsatellite amplification. Finally, we acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Griselda Pérez-López
    • 1
  • Antonio González-Rodríguez
    • 2
  • Ken Oyama
    • 3
  • Pablo Cuevas-Reyes
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología de Interacciones Bióticas, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y SustentabilidadUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad Morelia, UNAMMoreliaMexico

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