Anatomy of the gall in Ficus benjamina (Moraceae) associated with thrips (Tubulifera: Phlaeothripidae).
The galls are generally recognized as abnormal growths of tissues affected by insects when lay the eggs or feed on plant tissues. In, Ficus benjamina the insect Gynaikothrips garitacambroneroi, when feeding on leaf tissues, causes a gall which consists on the bending of the leaves. In this paper we analyzed the ultrastructure of sections of healthy leaves, and leaves with galls of F. benjamina using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We analyzed the number of stomata per area and found no significant changes, although there is less cuticular wax on the surface of the affected area by the barb. In the leaf area affected by G. garitacambroneroi, bacilli and fungi were observed and eggs of other organisms as possible invaders. Moreover, the inner tissues of leaves with galls had some problems in the differentiation of palisade and spongy mesophylls, and only parenchymatous tissue was observed.
Keywords: gall, ficus benjamina, gynaikothrips spp., SEM, ultraestructure, leaf, thrips, Costa Rica