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  1. McIntyre, L (Ed.)

    The adelgids (Adelgidae) are a small family of sap-feeding insects, which, together with true aphids (Aphididae) and phylloxerans (Phylloxeridae), make up the infraorder Aphidomorpha. Some adelgid species are highly destructive to forest ecosystems such as Adelges tsugae, Adelges piceae, Adelges laricis, Pineus pini, and Pineus boerneri. Despite this, there are no high-quality genomic resources for adelgids, hindering advanced genomic analyses within Adelgidae and among Aphidomorpha. Here, we used PacBio continuous long-read and Illumina RNA-sequencing to construct a high-quality draft genome assembly for the Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Adelges cooleyi (Gillette), a gall-forming species endemic to North America. The assembled genome is 270.2 Mb in total size and has scaffold and contig N50 statistics of 14.87 and 7.18 Mb, respectively. There are 24,967 predicted coding sequences, and the assembly completeness is estimated at 98.1 and 99.6% with core BUSCO gene sets of Arthropoda and Hemiptera, respectively. Phylogenomic analysis using the A. cooleyi genome, 3 publicly available adelgid transcriptomes, 4 phylloxera transcriptomes, the Daktulosphaira vitifoliae (grape phylloxera) genome, 4 aphid genomes, and 2 outgroup coccoid genomes fully resolves adelgids and phylloxerans as sister taxa. The mitochondrial genome is 24 kb, among the largest in insects sampled to date, with 39.4% composed of noncoding regions. This genome assembly is currently the only genome-scale, annotated assembly for adelgids and will be a valuable resource for understanding the ecology and evolution of Aphidomorpha.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 28, 2024
  2. Garnas, Jeff R. (Ed.)
    Abstract Some introduced species cause severe damage, although the majority have little impact. Robust predictions of which species are most likely to cause substantial impacts could focus efforts to mitigate those impacts or prevent certain invasions entirely. Introduced herbivorous insects can reduce crop yield, fundamentally alter natural and managed forest ecosystems, and are unique among invasive species in that they require certain host plants to succeed. Recent studies have demonstrated that understanding the evolutionary history of introduced herbivores and their host plants can provide robust predictions of impact. Specifically, divergence times between hosts in the native and introduced ranges of a nonnative insect can be used to predict the potential impact of the insect should it establish in a novel ecosystem. However, divergence time estimates vary among published phylogenetic datasets, making it crucial to understand if and how the choice of phylogeny affects prediction of impact. Here, we tested the robustness of impact prediction to variation in host phylogeny by using insects that feed on conifers and predicting the likelihood of high impact using four different published phylogenies. Our analyses ranked 62 insects that are not established in North America and 47 North American conifer species according to overall risk and vulnerability, respectively. We found that results were robust to the choice of phylogeny. Although published vascular plant phylogenies continue to be refined, our analysis indicates that those differences are not substantial enough to alter the predictions of invader impact. Our results can assist in focusing biosecurity programs for conifer pests and can be more generally applied to nonnative insects and their potential hosts by prioritizing surveillance for those insects most likely to be damaging invaders. 
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  3. Abstract

    Many plant-sap-feeding insects have maintained a single, obligate, nutritional symbiont over the long history of their lineage. This senior symbiont may be joined by one or more junior symbionts that compensate for gaps in function incurred through genome-degradative forces. Adelgids are sap-sucking insects that feed solely on conifer trees and follow complex life cycles in which the diet fluctuates in nutrient levels. Adelgids are unusual in that both senior and junior symbionts appear to have been replaced repeatedly over their evolutionary history. Genomes can provide clues to understanding symbiont replacements, but only the dual symbionts of hemlock adelgids have been examined thus far. Here, we sequence and compare genomes of four additional dual-symbiont pairs in adelgids. We show that these symbionts are nutritional partners originating from diverse bacterial lineages and exhibiting wide variation in general genome characteristics. Although dual symbionts cooperate to produce nutrients, the balance of contributions varies widely across pairs, and total genome contents reflect a range of ages and degrees of degradation. Most symbionts appear to be in transitional states of genome reduction. Our findings support a hypothesis of periodic symbiont turnover driven by fluctuating selection for nutritional provisioning related to gains and losses of complex life cycles in their hosts.

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  4. Assessing the ecological and economic impacts of non-native species is crucial to providing managers and policymakers with the information necessary to respond effectively. Most non-native species have minimal impacts on the environment in which they are introduced, but a small fraction are highly deleterious. The definition of ‘damaging’ or ‘high-impact’ varies based on the factors determined to be valuable by an individual or group, but interpretations of whether non-native species meet particular definitions can be influenced by the interpreter’s bias or level of expertise, or lack of group consensus. Uncertainty or disagreement about an impact classification may delay or otherwise adversely affect policymaking on management strategies. One way to prevent these issues would be to have a detailed, nine-point impact scale that would leave little room for interpretation and then divide the scale into agreed upon categories, such as low, medium, and high impact. Following a previously conducted, exhaustive search regarding non-native, conifer-specialist insects, the authors independently read the same sources and scored the impact of 41 conifer-specialist insects to determine if any variation among assessors existed when using a detailed impact scale. Each of the authors, who were selected to participate in the working group associated with this study because of their diverse backgrounds, also provided their level of expertise and uncertainty for each insect evaluated. We observed 85% congruence in impact rating among assessors, with 27% of the insects having perfect inter-rater agreement. Variance in assessment peaked in insects with a moderate impact level, perhaps due to ambiguous information or prior assessor perceptions of these specific insect species. The authors also participated in a joint fact-finding discussion of two insects with the most divergent impact scores to isolate potential sources of variation in assessor impact scores. We identified four themes that could be experienced by impact assessors: ambiguous information, discounted details, observed versus potential impact, and prior knowledge. To improve consistency in impact decision-making, we encourage groups to establish a detailed scale that would allow all observed and published impacts to fall under a particular score, provide clear, reproducible guidelines and training, and use consensus-building techniques when necessary. 
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  5. Abstract

    TheAdelges(Dreyfusia)piceae(Ratzeburg) species complex is a taxonomically unstable group of six species. Three of the species are cyclically parthenogenetic [Ad.nordmannianae(Eckstein),Ad.prelli(Grossmann), andAd.merkeri(Eichhorn)] and three are obligately asexual [Ad.piceae,Ad.schneideri(Börner), andAd.nebrodensis(Binazzi & Covassi)]. Some species are high‐impact pests of fir (Abies) trees, so stable species names are needed to communicate effectively about management. Therefore, to refine species delimitation, guided by a reconstruction of their biogeographic history, we genotyped adelgids from Europe, North America, and the Caucasus Mountains region with 19 microsatellite loci, sequenced the COI DNA barcoding region, and compared morphology. Discriminant analysis of principal components of microsatellite genotypes revealed four distinct genetic clusters. Two clusters were morphologically consistent withAd.nordmannianae. One of these clusters consisted of samples from the Caucasus Mountains and northern Turkey, and the other included samples from this region as well as from Europe and North America, whereAd.nordmannianaeis invasive. A third cluster was morphologically consistent withAd.piceae, and included individuals from Europe, where it is native, and North America, where it is invasive. In North America, the majority ofAd.piceaeindividuals were assigned to two geographically widespread clones, suggesting multiple introductions. The fourth cluster included individuals morphologically consistent withAd.prelliorAd.merkeri. However, based on genetic assignments, hybrid simulations, and approximate Bayesian computation, we find it likely that these are contemporary hybrids betweenAd.nordmannianaeandAd.piceaethat arose independently in Europe and North America, so we propose thatAd.prelliandAd.merkeriare invalid. Finally, we synonymiseAd.schneideri(syn.n.)withAd.nordmannianaeand designateAd.nebrodensisas subspeciesAd.piceae nebrodensis(stat.n.). Our revised taxonomy therefore recognises two species:Ad.nordmannianaeandAd.piceae, which we estimate to have diverged recently, during one of the last two interglacial periods. Finally, we comment on this species complex being in the midst of transition between sexual and asexual reproduction, a pattern that is probably common in Adelgidae.

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