About this Research Topic
Gall-inducing insects and mites, two highly specialized arthropod taxa, are known for their breathtaking taxonomic and ecological diversity, yet these disparate groups are united in their unique capacity to redirect developmental programs of plants by generating galls- domiciles within which the inducing insects feed, develop, and propagate. Specific families of insects and mites in the Eriophyoidea, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera have evolved this capability over various geologic periods, living mostly on dicotyledonous plants. Mode of reproduction emerges as the key driving factor for gall induction among the hemipteroids and in the Acari, whereas other selective forces, such as escape from natural enemies, appear less critical in the more-evolved gall-inducing groups, such as the Cecidomyiidae and Cynipidae.
This Research Topic will explore why and how this habit has emerged among certain groups of Insecta and Acari, with the following objectives:
1. Clarify the known gall-induction mechanisms in the chosen group of arthropods
2. Explore the host-plant relations in the chosen group of arthropods
3. Illuminate any patterns in the ecology and evolution in the chosen group of arthropods
4. Provide a synthesis of current knowledge and identify questions for future investigations
Keywords: host specificity, host shifts, adaptive diversification, chemical ecology, distribution, biogeography
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