Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus

Martin Volf, Simon T. Segar, Scott E. Miller, Brus Isua, Mentap Sisol, Gibson Aubona, Petr Šimek, Martin Moos, Juuso Laitila, Jorma Kim, Jan Zima, Jadranka Rota, George D Weiblen, Stewart Wossa, Juha Pekka Salminen, Yves Basset, Vojtech Novotny

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  • 3 Citations

Abstract

Escalation (macroevolutionary increase) or divergence (disparity between relatives) in trait values are two frequent outcomes of the plant-herbivore arms race. We studied the defences and caterpillars associated with 21 sympatric New Guinean figs. Herbivore generalists were concentrated on hosts with low protease and oxidative activity. The distribution of specialists correlated with phylogeny, protease and trichomes. Additionally, highly specialised Asota moths used alkaloid rich plants. The evolution of proteases was conserved, alkaloid diversity has escalated across the studied species, oxidative activity has escalated within one clade, and trichomes have diverged across the phylogeny. Herbivore specificity correlated with their response to host defences: escalating traits largely affected generalists and divergent traits specialists; but the effect of escalating traits on extreme specialists was positive. In turn, the evolution of defences in Ficus can be driven towards both escalation and divergence in individual traits, in combination providing protection against a broad spectrum of herbivores.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages83-92
Number of pages10
JournalEcology letters
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Ficus
herbivore
community structure
herbivores
divergence
insect
insects
proteinases
trichome
alkaloid
generalist
trichomes
alkaloids
phylogeny
arms race
figs
caterpillar
moth
moths
insect larvae

Keywords

  • Alkaloids
  • Choreutidae
  • coevolution
  • cysteine protease
  • herbivore
  • Lepidoptera
  • New Guinea
  • polyphenols
  • Pyraloidea
  • trichomes

Cite this

Volf, M., Segar, S. T., Miller, S. E., Isua, B., Sisol, M., Aubona, G., ... Novotny, V. (2018). Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus. Ecology letters, 21(1), 83-92. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12875

Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus. / Volf, Martin; Segar, Simon T.; Miller, Scott E.; Isua, Brus; Sisol, Mentap; Aubona, Gibson; Šimek, Petr; Moos, Martin; Laitila, Juuso; Kim, Jorma; Zima, Jan; Rota, Jadranka; Weiblen, George D; Wossa, Stewart; Salminen, Juha Pekka; Basset, Yves; Novotny, Vojtech.

In: Ecology letters, Vol. 21, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 83-92.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Volf, M, Segar, ST, Miller, SE, Isua, B, Sisol, M, Aubona, G, Šimek, P, Moos, M, Laitila, J, Kim, J, Zima, J, Rota, J, Weiblen, GD, Wossa, S, Salminen, JP, Basset, Y & Novotny, V 2018, 'Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus' Ecology letters, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 83-92. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12875
Volf, Martin ; Segar, Simon T. ; Miller, Scott E. ; Isua, Brus ; Sisol, Mentap ; Aubona, Gibson ; Šimek, Petr ; Moos, Martin ; Laitila, Juuso ; Kim, Jorma ; Zima, Jan ; Rota, Jadranka ; Weiblen, George D ; Wossa, Stewart ; Salminen, Juha Pekka ; Basset, Yves ; Novotny, Vojtech. / Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism, escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus. In: Ecology letters. 2018 ; Vol. 21, No. 1. pp. 83-92.
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