Histological Comparisons of Fergusobia/Fergusonina-Induced Galls on Different Myrtaceous Hosts


  • R. M. Giblin-Davis
  • B. J. Center
  • K. A. Davies
  • M. F. Purcell
  • S. J. Scheffer
  • G. S. Taylor
  • J. Goolsby
  • T. D. Center


australia, diptera, fergusobia, fergusonina, fergusoninidae, fly, gall development, histology, life history, mutualism, myrtaceae, nematoda, nematode, tylenchida


The putative mutualism between different host-specific Fergusobia nematodes and Fergusonina flies is manifested in a variety of gall types involving shoot or inflorescence buds, individual flower buds, stems, or young leaves in the plant family Myrtaceae. Different types of galls in the early-to-middle stages of development, with host-specific species of Fergusobia/Fergusonina, were collected from Australian members of the subfamily Leptospermoideae (six species of Eucalyptus, two species of Corymbia, and seven species of broad-leaved Melaleuca). Galls were sectioned and histologically examined to assess morphological changes induced by nematode/fly mutualism. The different gall forms were characterized into four broad categories: (i) individual flower bud, (ii) terminal and axial bud, (iii) 'basal rosette' stem, and (iv) flat leaf. Gall morphology in all four types appeared to result from species-specific selection of the oviposition site and timing and number of eggs deposited in a particular plant host. In all cases, early parasitism by Fergusobia/Fergusonina involved several layers of uninucleate, hypertrophied cells lining the lumen of each locule (gall chamber where each fly larva and accompanying nematodes develop). Hypertrophied cells in galls were larger than normal epidermal cells, and each had an enlarged nucleus, nucleolus, and granular cytoplasm that resembled shoot bud gall cells induced by nematodes in the Anguinidae.