Pollinator divergence within an obligate mutualism: Two Yucca moth species (Lepidoptera; Prodoxidae: Tegeticula) on the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia; Agavaceae)

O. Pellmyr, K. A. Segraves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-722
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the Entomological Society of America
Volume96
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Coevolution
  • Mojave desert
  • Phylogeography
  • Prodoxidae
  • Tegeticula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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