Distribution of insect galls in xeric and mesic habitats of Floresta Nacional de Silvânia, Brazil

ABSTRACT We investigated the insect gall distribution along savanna (xeric) and forest (mesic) vegetation in the Floresta Nacional de Silvânia, Goiás, Brazil. We tested if the insect gall diversity is higher in the xeric vegetation than in the mesic vegetation, as predicted by the hygrothermal stress hypothesis. The insect gall fauna was surveyed between December 2009 and June 2010 in two transects established each vegetation type. In total we found 186 insect gall morphotypes, distributed on 35 botanical families and 61 plant species. Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) induced the most insect galls (34.1%), and the plant family Fabaceae had the greatest richness of insect gall morphotypes (18). We recorded 99 insect gall morphotypes in the forest and 87 morphotypes in the savanna vegetation, being that none insect gall morphotype occurred in both habitats. We found that the insect gall richness and abundance did not differ between forest and savanna transects. On the other hand, the estimated insect gall richness was higher in the forest than in the savanna. Our findings contrary the hygrothermal stress hypothesis possibly because forest habitats have higher plant architecture complexity and occurrence of super-host taxa than the savanna habitats.