Evolutionary Applications (2015) 8, 807-820

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Laure Kaiser, Bruno Pierre Le Ru, Ferial Kaoula, Corentin Paillusson, Claire Capdevielle-Dulac, Julius Ochieng Obonyo, Elisabeth A. Herniou, Severine Jancek, Antoine Branca, Paul-André Calatayud, Jean-François Silvain and Stephane Dupas (2015)
Ongoing ecological speciation in Cotesia sesamiae, a biological control agent of cereal stem borers
Evolutionary Applications 8 (8), 807-820
Abstract: To develop efficient and safe biological control, we need to reliably identify natural enemy species, determine their host range, and understand the mechanisms that drive host range evolution. We investigated these points in Cotesia sesamiae, an African parasitic wasp of cereal stem borers. Phylogenetic analyses of 74 individual wasps, based on six mitochondrial and nuclear genes, revealed three lineages. We then investigated the ecological status (host plant and host insect ranges in the field, and host insect suitability tests) and the biological status (cross-mating tests) of the three lineages. We found that one highly supported lineage showed all the hallmarks of a cryptic species. It is associated with one host insect, Sesamia nonagrioides, and is reproductively isolated from the other two lineages by pre- and postmating barriers. The other two lineages had a more variable phylogenetic support, depending on the set of genes; they exhibited an overlapping and diversified range of host species and are not reproductively isolated from one another. We discuss the ecological conditions and mechanisms that likely generated this ongoing speciation and the relevance of this new specialist taxon in the genus Cotesia for biological control.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Paul-Andre Calatayud, Elisabeth A. Herniou

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Chilo partellus Tanzania
Sesamia calamistis Kenya
Busseola fusca Tanzania
Busseola fusca Maize/corn (Zea mays) Kenya
Sesamia nonagrioides Ethiopia
Sesamia nonagrioides Kenya
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Chilo partellus Tanzania
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Sesamia calamistis Kenya
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Busseola fusca Eritrea
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Busseola fusca Maize/corn (Zea mays) Kenya
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Sesamia nonagrioides Ethiopia
Cotesia sesamiae (parasitoid) Sesamia nonagrioides Kenya