There are over 200 species of nematine sawflies that induce galls on willows (Salix spp.). Most of the species are mono- or oligophagous, and they can be separated into seven or eight different groups based on the type of gall that they induce. We studied the evolution of different gall types and host plant associations by reconstructing the phylogeny of five outgroup and 31 ingroup species using DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Maximum-parsimony and maximum-likelihood analyses resulted in essentially the same phylogeny with high support for important branches. The results show that: (1) the galling species probably form a monophyletic group; (2) true closed galls evolved only once, via leaf folders; (3) with the possible exception of leaf rollers, all gall type groups are mono- or paraphyletic; (4) similar gall types are closer on the phylogeny than would be expected by a random process; (5) there is an apparent evolutionary trend in galling site from the leaf edge towards the more central parts of the host plant; and (6) many willow species have been colonized several times, which excludes the possiblity of parallel cladogenesis between willows and the gallers; however, there are signs of restrictions in the evolution of host use. Many of the patterns in the evolutionary history of nematine gallers have also been observed in earlier studies on other insect gallers, indicating convergent evolution between the independent radiations.
Corresponding Editor: C. Boggs