Quek, S.P., Ueda, S., Gullan, P.J., Kondo, T., Hattori, M., Itioka, T., Murase, K., & Itino, T. 2017 Nuclear DNA based species delineations of Coccus scale insects in symbiosis with plants and ants, and the role of plant epicuticular wax in structuring associations.. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 120(4): 818-835


  • DNA
  • ant association
  • behavior
  • illustration
  • phylogenetics
  • taxonomy
  • Notes: We undertook phylogenetic analysis of nuclear DNA to elucidate species boundaries in the symbiotic Coccus scale insects associated with mutualistic Crematogaster ants and Macaranga plants occurring in the ever-wet forests of Southeast Asia. The coccid specimens clustered into ten lineages, each corresponding to a morphospecies assignment. The network of preferred partners among all three guilds showed compartmentalization structured by the presence/absence of plant epicuticular wax, suggesting that this feature plays a fundamental role in how the symbionts select partners that best serve their needs. To a lesser degree, the network was also structured by whether the host plant stems were ant-excavated or hollowed naturally.