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Herbivorous Insects and the Hawaiian Silversword Alliance: Coevolution or Cospeciation?

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Title:Herbivorous Insects and the Hawaiian Silversword Alliance: Coevolution or Cospeciation?
Authors:Roderick, George K.
Date Issued:Oct 1997
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Roderick GK. 1997. Herbivorous insects and the Hawaiian silversword alliance: coevolution or cospeciation? Pac Sci 51(4): 440-449.
Abstract:Numerous groups of herbivorous insects in the Hawaiian archipelago
have undergone adaptive radiations. R. C. L. Perkins collected and documented
species in nearly all of these groups. In this study I tested whether patterns of host
plant use by herbivorous insects can be explained by host plant history. I examined
a group of insects in the planthopper genus Nesosydne (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) that
feed on plants in the Hawaiian silversword alliance, many of which are endangered
or threatened. For these Nesosydne species feeding on the silversword alliance,
mitochondrial DNA sequence data revealed a statistically significant pattern of
cospeciation between these insects and their hosts. These planthoppers are highly
host-specific, with each species feeding on only one, or a few closely related, plant
species. Patterns of host plant use across the plant lineage, as well as within extensive
hybrid zones between members of the silversword alliance, suggest that planthopper
diversification parallels host plant diversification. Data collected thus far are consistent
with, but do not directly demonstrate, reciprocal adaptation. For other herbivorous
insects associated with members of the Hawaiian silversword alliance, patterns
of host plant use and evolutionary history are not yet well understood. However,
cospeciation appears not to be universal. For example, endemic flies in the family
Tephritidae (Diptera) are less host-specific and demonstrate host-switching. Research
is under way to reveal the mechanisms associated with cospeciation and host switching
for different insect groups associated with the Hawaiian silversword
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 51, Number 4, 1997

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