Relationship between host plant diversity and gall-inducing insect’s richness in the Brazilian Cerrado

Walter Santos de Araújo, Benedito Baptista dos Santos, Vera Lúcia Gomes-Klein


Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the diversity patterns of gall-inducing insect species. Some of them take into consideration the influence of host plants on these patterns, mainly in relation to plant community richness and composition. In the present study, we intended to answer three questions: (i) Is gall richness dependent of the host plant family size?, (ii) This relationship also occurs for the plant genus size?, and (iii) Does the composition of host taxa influence gall richness? We carried out inventories of gall-inducing insect diversity in different areas of the Cerrado region in the state of Goiás, in the Midwestern Region of Brazil. Gall richness was positively correlated to host plant family size in number of species. Larger families presented higher richness of gall morphotypes, such as Fabaceae, a family that exhibits the highest number of plants in the Cerrado area. Also, plant community composition influenced gall richness and the presence of some super-host taxa incremented gall diversity. Our results indicate that plant community composition may be as determinant of gall-inducing insect species diversity as host plant richness.

Key words: floristic composition, galls, host plant richness, super-hosts.

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