Systematics and diversity of Ichneumonidae, with an emphasis on the taxonomically neglected genus Ophion Fabricius

  • Author / Creator
    Schwarzfeld, Marla Dahlie
  • Ichneumonidae are the most species-rich family of parasitic Hymenoptera and are important for regulating populations of other arthropods. However, with an estimated 75% of species undescribed, we lack fundamental information about their taxonomy, ecology, and distributions. Using two different groups of Ichneumonidae, I address each of these issues in this thesis. In Chapters 2 – 4, I focus on the taxonomically-neglected genus Ophion. I provide the first phylogenetic hypothesis of Ophion based on molecular data (COI, ITS2 and 28S) and divide the genus into ten provisional species-groups (Chapter 2). I also describe the secondary structure of ITS2 for the first time in Ichneumonidae, and discuss its potential to inform phylogenetic inference in Ophion (Chapters 2, 3). I investigate the diversity of Ophion at the species level by comparing quantitative species delimitation methods with each other and with morphologically-defined species (Chapter 3). The total number of delimited species is dependent on the method and parameters used; however all methods agree that there is a wealth of undescribed diversity in Nearctic Ophion. Finally, I revise the Nearctic species within the newly defined Ophion scutellaris species-group (Chapter 4). An integrative analysis of DNA, geometric wing morphometrics, classical morphometrics and morphology indicates that this species-group contains a minimum of seven species in Canada, although the full diversity of the group has likely not been sampled. Ophion clave sp. n., O. aureus sp. n., O. brevipunctatus sp. n., O. dombroskii sp. n., O. keala sp. n., and O. importunus sp. n. are described. Once species have names, it is possible to address other fundamental questions about their distribution and ecology. I conducted a survey of Ichneumonidae in a boreal deciduous forest, with an emphasis on Pimplinae, Poemeniinae, and Rhyssinae. Responses to forest harvesting were weak, but there is evidence that the community composition at the species level is correlated with shrub composition. Even within this relatively well-known group, there is much unexplored diversity. Any nomenclatural changes or new taxa proposed in this thesis should not be considered valid until published in primary journals as defined by the ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature 1999).

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Specialization
    • Systematics and Evolution
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Sperling, Felix (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Proctor, Heather (Biological Sciences)
    • Sharkey, Michael (University of Kentucky)
    • Dosdall, Lloyd (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Roland, Jens (Biological Sciences)