Abstract Detail

Tropical Biology

Luo, Shi-Xiao [1], Wang, Ziwei [1], Wu, Youheng [1], Yao, Gang [2], Chen, Longlong [1], Nguyen, Thi Kim Thanh [3], Hembry, David [4].

Within-host radiation and spatial turnover in brood pollinating moths of the tropical Asian leafflowers Phyllanthus microcarpus and P. reticulatus (Phyllanthaceae).

Brood pollination mutualisms between plants and specialized clades of insects have long attracted interest in botany and evolutionary biology. In these associations, plants are pollinated by specialized insects which pollinate flowers as adults and lay eggs in the inflorescences so that larvae may consume developing seeds or other floral tissue. The fact that some of these interactions, such as those between figs and fig wasps and leafflowers and leafflower moths, are highly species-rich and species-specific has suggested that these interactions may diversify by a process of cospeciation, in which plant and pollinator speciation occurs contemporaneously to produce a pair of topologically congruent phylogenies. As phylogenetic data from brood pollination mutualisms accumulated, diversification according to this strict process has appeared less and less supported. Here, we present a phylogenetic and ecological survey of pollinating leafflower moths (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae: Epicephala) associated with two widely distributed Asian leafflowers, Phyllanthus microcarpus and P. reticulatus (Phyllanthaceae: Phyllanthus: Kirganelia: Anisonema) in east and southeast Asia. P. microcarpus and P. reticulatus are likely sister taxa, and are distributed mostly parapatrically throughout tropical Asia. Using multilocus molecular phylogenetic analysis, we find 10 minimally monophyletic clades of leafflower moths associated with P. microcarpus and P. reticulatus, some of which correspond to described species identified by previous studies. Moths associated with P. microcarpus form a clade nested within a paraphyletic grade of moths associated from P. reticulatus. Finer-scale population-level sampling of moth species associated with P. microcarpus across southern China and northern Vietnam indicates that up to three species of moth can coexist on the same host, and that there is substantial spatial turnover in the identity of the ten putative pollinator species across this area. We interpret these results as evidence for within-host radiations by leafflower moths associated with each of these two host plant species, in contrast to the cospeciation hypothesis commonly invoked for brood pollination mutualisms.

1 - South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
2 - South China Agricultural University, South China Limestone Plants Research Center, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
3 - Vietnam National University - University of Science, Department of Botany, Hanoi, Vietnam
4 - Cornell University, Department of Entomology, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA

pollination biology
brood pollination
Asian tropics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: 0003
Abstract ID:820
Candidate for Awards:None

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