Invited Seminar at CES on 23 July 2018 at 4:00 pm titled "Clever insects and exquisite galls" by Anantanarayanan Raman from Charles Sturt University, Australia
Insect-induced plant galls were known to humans for long, mostly for use as drugs and for extracting ink-like material used in writing and painting. In the last few decades, we have brought to light scores of unknown gall systems and their inducing agents. Irrespective of the tremendous advances we have made in the demographic ecology of gall-inducing arthropods and the galls of inimitable morphologies, our efforts to characterize the mechanism of gall development has been tardy. Currently we have been reasonably successful in clarifying the steps in the physiology of gall growth and differentiation with the characterization of auxin and cytokinin precursors in the involved arthropod’s saliva. However, we have not been able to precisely clarify the earliest step involved — the triggering factor — which usually occurs within the first 24 h of attack of plant tissue by the inducing arthropod. While acknowledging the available explanations, this talk would summarize the existing knowledge and highlight the gaps that in the science of Cecidology. I propose to explore the world of arthropod-induced galls — unique and highly symmetrical natural sculptures — using examples from the Indian subcontinent. We need to recognize many questions remain to be answered.