A phylogenetic study of the Cynipoidea (hymenoptera)

Fergusson, Nigel Donald MacDade (1990) A phylogenetic study of the Cynipoidea (hymenoptera). Doctoral thesis, City of London Polytechnic.


The current classification of the Cynipoldea was subjected to compatibility analysis on the basis of the characters then employed and shown to have a very poor resolution. A comprehensive morphological investigation of 31 exemplar species was undertaken and 234 characters were found, a 450% increase over the established classification. These characters were analysed and the compatibility clique contained 135 apomorphies, 68 of which were synapomorphies. This is an increase of 600% and 300% respectively over the established data, this is a tremendous improvement in the data-base leading to a great improvement in resolution.

In addition, the principal morphological character-suites were analysed independently. This technique was used to locate the weaknesses in earlier classifications and, by this method, the distortion caused by the allometric bias to wing-data was recognized.

Many extralimital cynipoids were examined and a new tribe was discovered. Other forms of cladistlc analysis. Parsimony and O'Nolan weighting, were undertaken and the results considered. After detailed analysis, a phylogeny of the Cynipoidea was reconstructed.

The evolutionary biology of the Cynipoidea provided particularly strong support for the phylogenetic reconstruction. Concepts of host defence, host range, gall complexity, gall position, host switching, reproductive cycles, biogeographical distribution, plate tectonics, palaeobotany, palaeoclimatology, the origin of hyperparasitism and the adaptive characters associated with xylophagous hosts were all considered. All the available fossil cynipoids were examined and the evolutionary history, holophyly, and relationships of the Cynipoidea with other Hymenoptera were all discussed.

Finally the phylogenetic reconstruction was used to provide the first reasoned classification for the super family.

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