Galling: the prevalent form of insect folivory in the latest neogene monsoon-influenced tropical forests of the chotanagpur plateau, eastern india

Hazra, Manoshi; Hazra, Taposhi; Spicer, Robert A.; Kumar Sarkar, Subhankar; Spicer, Teresa E.V.; Bera, Subir and Khan, Mahasin Ali (2021). Galling: the prevalent form of insect folivory in the latest neogene monsoon-influenced tropical forests of the chotanagpur plateau, eastern india. Palaeoworld (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palwor.2021.09.004

Abstract

Indian Cenozoic deposits contain well-preserved diverse angiosperm leaf assemblages, but galling, a common form of angiosperm leaf damage in modern tropical forests, has not been well-documented. Here we report insect herbivory on diverse angiosperm fossil leaf specimens from Pliocene (Rajdanda Formation) sediments of the Chotanagpur Plateau, eastern India, revealing that galling was the most common form of folivory in the latest Neogene monsoon-adapted tropical forests of eastern India. Diverse well-preserved galls are described on the basis of their size, shape and position on the host angiosperm leaf remains. Nine gall damage types (DT 32, DT 33, DT 34, DT 80, DT 83, DT 85, DT 110, DT 120, and DT 144) are identified. They are compared with extant galls and the probable gall inducers making morphologically similar galls on related host tropical plant species of Ficus, Mangifera, Albizia, Galactia, Ziziphus, Hylodesmum, Adina, and Psidium. The gall producers belong to the insect orders Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, and Diptera (Cecidomyiidae). Although the detailed morphology of the phytophagous insects associated with the recovered fossil leaves is unknown, our findings indicate that many modern plant-insect relationships were likely established by the Pliocene. The reconstructed warm, humid Pliocene climate with a weak monsoon seasonality was conducive to extensive galling activity during this time.

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