Phylogeny and life history evolution of Prodoxus yucca moths (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae)

Olle Pellmyr, Manuel Balcázar-Lara, David M. Althoff, Kari A. Segraves, James Leebens-Mack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Yucca moths (Lep., Prodoxidae) are well-known for their obligate pollination mutualism with yuccas. In addition to the pollinators, yuccas also host many non-pollinating yucca moths. Here the genus Prodoxus, the non-pollinating sister group of the pollinators, is revised using morphological and molecular data, their phylogenetic relationships are analysed, and the evolution of host tissue specialization explored. Twenty-two species are recognized, including nine new species: Prodoxus gypsicolorsp.n., P. sonorensissp.n., P. carnerosanellussp.n., P. tamaulipellussp.n., P. weethumpisp.n., P. tehuacanensissp.n., P. californicussp.n., P. mapimiensissp.n. and P. atascosanellussp.n.Prodoxus y-inversus Riley, P. coloradensis Riley and P. sordidus Riley are redescribed. The genus Agavenema is synonymized with Prodoxus. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that stalk-feeding is basal within the group, that there are three separate origins of fruit-feeding, and one origin of leaf-mining from a stalk-feeding ancestor. Although species with different feeding habits often coexist within hosts, the analyses suggest that ecological specialization and diversification within a host only may have occurred within one or possibly two hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalSystematic Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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