The project's central aim is to test whether the evolution of hymenopteran parasitoids is driven by host ecology and behavior. Darwin wasps from the Polysphinctini tribe (Ichneumonidae, Pimplinae) are highly specialized spider parasitoids. They represent an ideal model to infer how parasitoid-host ranges evolve in correlation with local host availability, and whether the host shifts are driven by local ecological adaptations of the parasitoid. The project aims to reveal general patterns that shaped the global diversity of hymenopteran parasitoids, by understanding the key evolutionary mechanisms at play in the model group. 

The integrative nature of the project will implement genomic data (3RAD sequencing) together with morphological and ecological characteristics of hymenopteran parasitoids and their spider hosts across three dominant European mountain ranges (Alps, Carpathians, and Pyrenees). The target parasitoid taxa will include both generalists and specialists from several genera. The co-advisor of the project will be RNDr. Věra Opatová, Ph.D. - spider taxonomist and 3RAD data analyses expert). The project will be run in close collaboration with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (Assoc. Prof. Mgr. Stanislav Korenko, Ph.D. - spider behavior expert).

Five relevant publications of the research group: 

van de Kamp T., Miko I., Staniczek A., Eggs B., Bajerlein D., Farago T., Hagelstein L., Hamann E., Spiecker R., Baumbach T., Janšta P., Krogmann L. 2022. Evolution of flexible biting in hyperdiverse parasitoid wasps. Proc. Royal Soc B-Biol. Sci 289 (1967): 2021-2086 (IF=5.349)

Gonzalez E., Strobl M., Janšta P., Hovorka T., Kadlec T., Knapp M. 2022: Artificial temporary non-crop habitats support parasitoids on arable land. Biol. Conserv., 265: e109409 (IF=5.99)

Opatová V., Hamilton C.A., Hedin M., De Oca L.M., Král J., Bond J.E. 2020. Phylogenetic systematics and evolution of the spider infraorder Mygalomorphae using genomic scale data. Systematic Biology, 69, 671-707 (IF=15.683).

Samková A., Hadrava J., Skuhrovec J. & Janšta P. 2019: Host population density and presence of predators as key factors influencing the number of gregarious parasitoid Anaphes flavipes offspring. SciRep 9: 6081 (IF=4.0)

Janšta P., Cruaud A., Delvare G., Genson G., Heraty J., Křížková B. & Rasplus J.-Y. 2018: Torymidae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea) revised: molecular phylogeny, circumscription and reclassification of the family with discussion of its biogeography and evolution of life-history traits. Cladistics 34: 627-651 (IF=5.9)

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