Description

Armored scale insects (Diaspididae) are ubiquitous parasites of trees and shrubs. They have the potential to exhibit either a generalist or specialized host association pattern. When generalists, armored scale insects live in varied environments using different resources and showcasing a wide diet breadth. As specialists, they only survive in a specific habitat with a limited diet breadth. Whether or not they are generalists or specialists could limit or host-associated speciation. The determination of their lifestyle could have far-reaching implications in pesticide use as the armored scale insects are economically destructive. Additionally, looking at the insect lifestyle could shed light on speciation. The following research aims to determine if specialization drives speciation in armored scale insects. Specimens were collected off oaks (Quercus spp.) and manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.) samples based on geographical location in order to determine if the insects are generalists or specialists on different host plants. Non-destructive DNA extractions of the sampled armored scale insects were performed and PCR replicates of the CO1 segment of the mitochondrial DNA were sequenced. These DNA segments can indicate speciation patterns in correlation to geographic isolation or host-mediated speciation. If these insects demonstrate host-mediated speciation, there is expected to be a strong correlation between genotype and host plant; if not, a neutral model of isolation-by-distance is expected.

COinS
 

Generalist Versus Specialist Speciation Patterns in Chaparral Community Armored Scale Insects

Armored scale insects (Diaspididae) are ubiquitous parasites of trees and shrubs. They have the potential to exhibit either a generalist or specialized host association pattern. When generalists, armored scale insects live in varied environments using different resources and showcasing a wide diet breadth. As specialists, they only survive in a specific habitat with a limited diet breadth. Whether or not they are generalists or specialists could limit or host-associated speciation. The determination of their lifestyle could have far-reaching implications in pesticide use as the armored scale insects are economically destructive. Additionally, looking at the insect lifestyle could shed light on speciation. The following research aims to determine if specialization drives speciation in armored scale insects. Specimens were collected off oaks (Quercus spp.) and manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.) samples based on geographical location in order to determine if the insects are generalists or specialists on different host plants. Non-destructive DNA extractions of the sampled armored scale insects were performed and PCR replicates of the CO1 segment of the mitochondrial DNA were sequenced. These DNA segments can indicate speciation patterns in correlation to geographic isolation or host-mediated speciation. If these insects demonstrate host-mediated speciation, there is expected to be a strong correlation between genotype and host plant; if not, a neutral model of isolation-by-distance is expected.

 

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