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      Microgaster godzilla (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Microgastrinae), an unusual new species from Japan which dives underwater to parasitize its caterpillar host (Lepidoptera, Crambidae, Acentropinae)

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      Journal of Hymenoptera Research

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          A new species of Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) parasitoid wasp, Microgaster godzilla Fernandez-Triana & Kamino, is described from Japan. From a biological and morphological perspective this is a very unusual species. It represents only the third known microgastrine to be aquatic, and the first one to be found entering the water. The female wasp searches for its hosts, aquatic larvae of Elophila turbata (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), mostly by walking over floating plants, but occasionally diving underwater for several seconds to force the larva out of its case, when it is quickly parasitized (parasitization was always observed above water). The unique searching behaviour of M. godzilla as well as its parasitization of aquatic larvae was filmed and it is presented here. The wasp has simple tarsal claws, which are elongate and strongly curved, similar to those found in the related genus Hygroplitis; they seem to represent an adaptation for gripping to the substrate when entering the water. The new species is described based on morphological, molecular (DNA barcoding), biological and ethological data. Additionally, we provide detailed diagnoses to recognize M. godzilla from all other described species of Microgaster and Hygroplitis in the Palearctic, Nearctic and Oriental regions.

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          Most cited references 18

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          An inexpensive, automation-friendly protocol for recovering high-quality DNA

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            Extreme diversity of tropical parasitoid wasps exposed by iterative integration of natural history, DNA barcoding, morphology, and collections.

            We DNA barcoded 2,597 parasitoid wasps belonging to 6 microgastrine braconid genera reared from parapatric tropical dry forest, cloud forest, and rain forest in Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica and combined these data with records of caterpillar hosts and morphological analyses. We asked whether barcoding and morphology discover the same provisional species and whether the biological entities revealed by our analysis are congruent with wasp host specificity. Morphological analysis revealed 171 provisional species, but barcoding exposed an additional 142 provisional species; 95% of the total is likely to be undescribed. These 313 provisional species are extraordinarily host specific; more than 90% attack only 1 or 2 species of caterpillars out of more than 3,500 species sampled. The most extreme case of overlooked diversity is the morphospecies Apanteles leucostigmus. This minute black wasp with a distinctive white wing stigma was thought to parasitize 32 species of ACG hesperiid caterpillars, but barcoding revealed 36 provisional species, each attacking one or a very few closely related species of caterpillars. When host records and/or within-ACG distributions suggested that DNA barcoding had missed a species-pair, or when provisional species were separated only by slight differences in their barcodes, we examined nuclear sequences to test hypotheses of presumptive species boundaries and to further probe host specificity. Our iterative process of combining morphological analysis, ecology, and DNA barcoding and reiteratively using specimens maintained in permanent collections has resulted in a much more fine-scaled understanding of parasitoid diversity and host specificity than any one of these elements could have produced on its own.
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              Biological identifications through DNA barcodes.

              Although much biological research depends upon species diagnoses, taxonomic expertise is collapsing. We are convinced that the sole prospect for a sustainable identification capability lies in the construction of systems that employ DNA sequences as taxon 'barcodes'. We establish that the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) can serve as the core of a global bioidentification system for animals. First, we demonstrate that COI profiles, derived from the low-density sampling of higher taxonomic categories, ordinarily assign newly analysed taxa to the appropriate phylum or order. Second, we demonstrate that species-level assignments can be obtained by creating comprehensive COI profiles. A model COI profile, based upon the analysis of a single individual from each of 200 closely allied species of lepidopterans, was 100% successful in correctly identifying subsequent specimens. When fully developed, a COI identification system will provide a reliable, cost-effective and accessible solution to the current problem of species identification. Its assembly will also generate important new insights into the diversification of life and the rules of molecular evolution.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
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                Journal
                Journal of Hymenoptera Research
                JHR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2607
                1070-9428
                October 30 2020
                October 30 2020
                : 79
                : 15-26
                Article
                10.3897/jhr.79.56162
                © 2020

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