Al, Irene Lobato-Vila Et, 2022, A catalogue, revision, and regional perspective of Eastern Palaearctic and Oriental oak gall wasps and their inquilines (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini, Synergini, Ceroptresini), Zootaxa 5161 (1), pp. 1-71 : 50-51

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Cynipini host-plant associations

Of the 103 valid Cynipini species whose host associations are known, 81 induce galls on Quercus : 28 on hosts in subgenus Quercus (all section Quercus ), 51 on hosts in subgenus Cerris (19 in section Cerris , 2 in section Ilex , and 30 in section Cyclobalanopsis ), and two hosts in oaks of undetermined section ( Table 3). In contrast, only 18 species induce galls on other Fagaceae genera ( Lithocarpus , Castanea and Castanopsis ). The host plant associations of the remaining species are unknown.

A striking feature of EPO Cynipini is that while individual species are specific to a particular non-oak genus or oak section, the host ranges of several genera span multiple divergent lineages of Fagaceae ( Table 3). This is most pronounced in Dryocosmus , which includes species that gall three genera of Fagaceae ( Castanea , Castanopsis , Quercus ) and two oak sections in different subgenera ( Cyclobalanopsis and Quercus ). Other genera show a similar pattern, if less dramatically: the purely East Asian genus Cycloneuroterus includes species that gall Quercus , Castanopsis and Lithocarpus , while Neuroterus includes species galling each subgenus of Quercus and one species on Lithocarpus , and Andricus primarily galls section Quercus oaks but includes one species galling Castanea .

While not all EPO Cynipini genera show such host diversity, those that do contrast markedly with pattern in the WP, in which (with some well-proven exceptions) members of a single Cynipini genus attack hosts in a single oak section ( Stone et al. 2009). For example, WP Dryocosmus and Neuroterus only gall oaks in the sections Cerris and Quercus , respectively. The exceptions in the WP are a monophyletic clade of Andricus species that show obligate host alternation between a sexual generation on section Cerris and an asexual generation on section Quercus , and a monophyletic clade of Callirhytis that alternate between the same host taxa but in the opposite direction. It is notable that no EPO species are known that show such Quercus / Cerris host alternation, or any other type of host alternation, despite co-occurrence of both host oak sections and other Fagaceae over large areas.

One possible reason for the high host range of some Cynipini genera in the EPO regions is that the morphological characters currently regarded as diagnostic do not define monophyletic groups, leading to paraphyletic or polyphyletic genera. This is discussed in more detail for specific genera below. However, if we take the pattern at face value, then high host richness could be an evolutionary result of geologically long-term exposure of cynipid lineages to very high host lineage diversity.