range from simple inconspicuous swellings to complex tissue and organ modifications, including abnormal internal cyst growths without external swelling and organ regrowth. By dissecting the galls, one can find highly differen- tiated tissue layers or simply no differentiation. Usually, Lep. galls are induced by Possible general mechanisms, from observations: the larva hatching from an egg laid 1. Mechanical damages made by feeding on host plant surface. The 2. Silk spun in chamber mechanism remains unknown. 3. Liquid secreted from the spinneret and injected in surrounding tissue 4. Frass (fecal excrement) For the past five years, galls induced by Sites Elevation Habitat type sp. # Lepidoptera were collected across Costa La Selva OTS Station 0-500m lowland rainforest 4 Rica. Some of the major investigation ACG Santa Rosa Station 0-500m lowland dryforest 3 sites are listed in the table. El Ceibo Station, San Ramón 500-1000m low to mid-premountain rainforest 29 San José, El Zurquí 1000-1500m mid to high premountian rainforest 21 In Costa Rica, approximately Monteverde, Vara Blanca 1500-2500m mid-elevation cloud forest 30 Cuericí, Villa Mills 2500-3200m high elevation cloud forest 16 9% of galls are induced by Torre, Chirripó 3200-3800m "paramo" 0 Lepidoptera. In Costa Rica approximately 1100 arthropod-induced galls have been recorded (Hanson & Gómez-Laurito 2004). Distribution of arthropod- In Costa Rica, Species number among families induced galls in Costa Rica approximately 100 species in Costa Rica of gall-inducing Lepidoptera Family # sp. belonging to at least 10 Nepticulidae 1 families and 8 superfamilies have been found. Gracillariidae 3 Miller (2004) reports some 323 (176 identified) belonging to at least 20 Glyphiptrigidae 1 families from the world, including two species from Costa Rica. Elachistidae 4 They were found on ca. 80 Coleophoridae 50+ species belonging to 21 Host plant family association plant families, all dicots. Cosmopterigidae 10 Phylogenetic All Only Plant Fam. leps Mompha Sterculiaceae 2 0 relations among Sesiidae 5 the 46 Melastomataceae 50 47 Asteraceae 1 0 superfamilies Tortricidae 5 Myrsinaceae 12 0 Boraginaceae 1 0 currently Alucitidae 3 Gesneriaceae 5 0 Curcurbitaceae 2 0 recognized Lamiaceae 1 0 Thyrididae 1 Malvaceae 4 0 Fabaceae 4 0 Lythraceae 1 1 Taken and modified unknown 12 slightly from Kristensen Clusiaceae 3 0 Polygalaceae 1 0 and Skalski 1999 More than half of these Solanaceae 3 0 Rosaceae 1 0 Galling is unknown in butterflies or lepidopterans are any other lineage of Macrolepidoptera. undescribed species of Amaranthaceae 2 2 Sapindaceae 1 0 Moraceae 2 0 Urticaceae 1 0 The galls were found primary Mompha HÜBNER Rubiaceae 2 1 Vervenaceae 1 0 on stems, leaf veins, and leaf (Coleophoridae: Momphinae) Many inducers spend their entire larval petioles. Others were found on nearly all of which occur on and pupal stages inside their galls, flowers, fruits, and roots. Melastomataceae. while others pupate away from the gall. As in general, all of these gallers are mono- or stenophagous, and some could be potential biological control agents for invasive weeds. For example, some Melastomataceae species have been invasive in the Pacific Islands, e.g. over 60% of the Tahiti is heavily invaded by Miconia calvescens, and now also threatening also the Hawaiian forest. The Mompha species below is considered as one of the high priority potential biological control agents.
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