Yucca moths are widely recognized for their role as highly specific pollinators and seed-eaters on yuccas, making them part of one of the major models of obligate mutualism. Here we describe Tegeticula antithetica Pellmyr (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae), a new pollinator species of Yucca brevifolia (Joshua tree). Biological information is provided. Molecular phylogenetic data show the two pollinators of Y. brevifolia to be sister taxa, and a molecular clock estimates their divergence to ≈ 10.7 million years ago. This is the first documented instance of pollinator moth divergence and speciation within a host plant. The known geographic ranges of the two species do not overlap. We discuss the historical biogeography of Y. brevifolia and its implications for moth diversification.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Annals of the Entomological Society of America|
|State||Published - Nov 2003|
- Mojave desert
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science