Plant-insect interactions: double-dating associated insect and plant lineages reveals asynchronous radiations

Syst Biol. 2004 Feb;53(1):120-7. doi: 10.1080/10635150490264996.

Abstract

An increasing number of plant-insect studies using phylogenetic analysis suggest that cospeciation events are rare in plant-insect systems. Instead, nonrandom patterns of phylogenetic congruence are produced by phylogenetically conserved host switching (to related plants) or tracking of particular resources or traits (e.g., chemical). The dominance of host switching in many phytophagous insect groups may make the detection of genuine cospeciation events difficult. One important test of putative cospeciation events is to verify whether reciprocal speciation is temporally plausible. We explored techniques for double-dating of both plant and insect phylogenies. We use dated molecular phylogenies of a psyllid (Hemiptera)-Genisteae (Fabaceae) system, a predominantly monophagous insect-plant association widespread on the Atlantic Macaronesian islands. Phylogenetic reconciliation analysis suggests high levels of parallel cladogenesis between legumes and psyllids. However, dating using molecular clocks calibrated on known geological ages of the Macaronesian islands revealed that the legume and psyllid radiations were not contemporaneous but sequential. Whereas the main plant radiation occurred some 8 million years ago, the insect radiation occurred about 3 million years ago. We estimated that >60% of the psyllid speciation has resulted from host switching between related hosts. The only evidence for true cospeciation is in the much more recent and localized radiation of genistoid legumes in the Canary Islands, where the psyllid and legume radiations have been partially contemporaneous. The identification of specific cospeciation events over this time period, however, is hindered by the phylogenetic uncertainty in both legume and psyllid phylogenies due to the apparent rapidity of the species radiations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atlantic Islands
  • Base Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fabaceae / genetics*
  • Geography
  • Hemiptera / genetics*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Symbiosis*