Absence of population-level phenotype matching in an obligate pollination mutualism

W. Godsoe, J. B. Yoder, C. I. Smith, C. S. Drummond, O. Pellmyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Coevolution is thought to promote evolutionary change between demes that ultimately results in speciation. If this is the case, then we should expect to see similar patterns of trait matching and phenotypic divergence between populations and between species in model systems for coevolution. As measures of divergence are frequently only available at one scale (population level or taxon level), this contention is rarely tested directly. Here, we use the case of co-divergence between different varieties of Joshua tree Yucca brevifolia (Agavaceae) and their obligate pollinators, two yucca moths (Tegeticula spp. Prodoxidae), to test for trait matching between taxa and among populations. Using model selection, we show that there is trait matching between mutualists at the taxon level, but once we account for differences between taxa, there is no indication of trait matching in local populations. This result differs from similar studies in other coevolving systems. We hypothesize that this discrepancy arises because coevolution in obligate mutualisms favours divergence less strongly than coevolution in other systems, such as host-parasite interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2739-2746
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of evolutionary biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Codivergence
  • Coevolution
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Pollination
  • Speciation


Dive into the research topics of 'Absence of population-level phenotype matching in an obligate pollination mutualism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this