Abstract

Gall-inducing insects manipulate the structural, histochemical and physiological profiles of host-plant tissues to develop galls. We evaluated galls induced by Eugeniamyia dispar on the leaves of Eugenia uniflora in an attempt to answer the following questions: (i) How does this gall-inducing insect change the structural and histochemical profiles of the host-plant organ? (ii) Despite structural changes, can gall tissues maintain photosynthetic activity? Starch, proteins, reducing sugars and reactive oxygen species were detected mainly in the nutritive tissue surrounding the larval chamber. Despite structural changes, the galls induced by E. dispar on E. uniflora retain chlorophyllous tissue, although its amount and photosynthetic activity are less than that of non-galled leaves. This reduced photosynthetic activity, in association with the presence of large intercellular spaces, could improve gas diffusion and, consequently, avoid hypoxia and hypercarbia in gall tissue.

Keywords: Chlorophyll a fluorescence, photosynthetic pigments, protein storage, reactive oxygen species, tissue gradients.