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Geography and major host evolutionary transitions shape the resource use of plant parasites

AuthorsCalatayud, Joaquín; Hórreo, José Luis; Madrigal-González, Jaime; Migeon, A.; Rodríguez, M. Á.; Magalhães, Sara; Hortal, Joaquín CSIC ORCID
KeywordsHost use evolution
Parasite–host interactions
Spider mites
Geographic signal
Evolutionary conservatism
Issue DateAug-2016
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 113(35): 9840-9845 (2016)
AbstractThe evolution of resource use in herbivores has been conceptualized as an analog of the theory of island biogeography, assuming that plant species are islands separated by phylogenetic distances. Despite its usefulness, this analogy has paradoxically led to neglecting real biogeographical processes in the study of macroevolutionary patterns of herbivore¿plant interactions. Here we show that host use is mostly determined by the geographical cooccurrence of hosts and parasites in spider mites (Tetranychidae), a globally distributed group of plant parasites. Strikingly, geography accounts for most of the phylogenetic signal in host use by these parasites. Beyond geography, only evolutionary transitions among major plant lineages (i.e., gymnosperms, commelinids, and eudicots) shape resource use patterns in these herbivores. Still, even these barriers have been repeatedly overcome in evolutionary time, resulting in phylogenetically diverse parasite communities feeding on similar hosts. Therefore, our results imply that patterns of apparent evolutionary conservatism may largely be a byproduct of the geographic cooccurrence of hosts and parasites.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1073/pnas.1608381113
issn: 1091-6490
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