We studied the association between root gall-forming insects and the epiphytic bromeliad Tillandsia ionantha Planchon in the lowland tropical dry forest ofthe coast ofthe state ofVeracruz, Mexico. Galls are formed by the fly Neolasioptera sp. (Diptera: Cecydomyiidae). The fly has a parasitoid,Aprostocetus sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). Gall formation takes place during the rainy season, which is the period of root growth in T. ionantha. We collected 4,031 plant individuals in six 5 m x 5 m study plots. Average plant diameter was 4.88 ± 2.8 cm. Average number ofgalls per plant was 1.03 ± 2.1 (N = 4,160). Plants from diameter classes 4.5 to 9.5 cm had the greatest number of galls. There was a positive significant correlation between bromeliad size and number ofgalls per plant. Gall diameter was 0.48 ± 0.1 cm (N = 582). Number of adult insect emergence holes per gall was 5.95 ± 3.4. Most holes were found in gall diameter classes 0.3 to 0.7 cm. There was a positive significant correlation between gall size and number of emergence holes. Our results suggest that parasitism by gall-forming flies is low; nevertheless, galls can be present at any stage in the life ofthe bromeliad. The presence ofgalls in the roots of T. ionantha does not prevent roots from accomplishing their role in plant attachment to substrate; plant individuals were always well-secured to the support tree. Nonetheless, the activity ofthe parasite, which diverts plant nutritive substances with the use ofchemical stimuli, undoubtedly causes deficiencies during development that may decrease plant reproductive fitness.
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