Gall-inducing insects of deciduous and semideciduous forests in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil

Ana Paula Goetz, Fernando Luz, Tiago Toma, Milton Mendonça Jr.


Galls are specific changes induced by insects on plant organs mainly through increases in plant cell number and/or size. Gall diversity is easy to recognize in the field because gallers are mostly species-specific, and thus each gall morphotype can be a proxy for a galling species. Insect galls are virtually unknown in Seasonal Deciduous and Semi-Deciduous forests of southern Brazil. Here, galls and host plants were surveyed between 2015 and 2017 in four forest fragments of Rio Grande do Sul State in these two vegetation types, in secondary-growth and areas under restoration. We recorded 89 gall morphotypes, with gallers belonging to Lepidoptera and Diptera, with the latter represented mainly by Cecidomyiidae. Galls were associated to 46 plant species in 27 families. Asteraceae, Piperaceae, Fabaceae, Myrtaceae and Lauraceae were the richest families in terms of galls, whilst Piper aduncum and Mikania glomerata were superhosts. Most galls occurred in leaves and shoots. The most common shapes were fusiform, globoid and lenticular. Forty-eight gall morphotype records are new for both Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil, an expressive number considering only two seasonal forest types sampled and few sampling points, showing how important surveys still are for these little know fauna both in taxonomic and ecological terms.

Iheringia Série Zoologia

Museu de Ciências Naturais, Fundação Zoobotânica do Rio Grande do Sul

Rua Dr. Salvador França, 1427, 90690-000 Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil