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Role of the venom gland in fig wasps life histories (Hymenoptera:Chalcidoidea)

Grant number: 13/22414-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): February 10, 2014
Effective date (End): August 09, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Rodrigo Augusto Santinelo Pereira
Grantee:Larissa Galante Elias
Supervisor: Yan-Qiong Peng
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China  
Associated to the scholarship:13/01918-1 - Role of the venom gland in fig wasps larval biology (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea), BP.PD


Life history characteristics are highly diversified in Hymenoptera and are directly related to how species interact with each other, being, for example, gallers, cleptoparasites or parasitoids. A large portion of this diversity is represented in the system Ficus (Moraceae) - fig wasps (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). The system involves wasps from different lineages and with diversified life histories (gallers, cleptoparasites and parasitoids) and shifts among them. We suggest that the venom gland/ reservoir morphology and its secretion have distinct characteristics according to their function (gall induction or host manipulation). Therefore, we will comparatively analise morphological, ultra structural and chemical characters of the venom gland and its reservoir in different fig wasp species, aiming at finding specific characteristic according to each life history. Studies on interactions between species with different life histories will suggest mechanisms involved in resource partitioning and group diversification. Specifically in this BEPE project, we will study Indo-Australasian native species that occur in China (Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Yunnan) and that have different life histories. Study species belong to the main clades of two fig wasp subfamilies (Agaonidae: Sycophaginae and Pteromalidae: Sycoryctinae) that have undergone distinct evolutionary processes from those of native Neotropical species. This will make our analysis more comprehensive and will allow us to assess the influence of both ecological and phylogenetic components on these groups' evolution. We expect that the venom gland and reservoir characteristics differ according to life history in fig wasps. (AU)

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