Yucca Moths (yucca + moth)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


How to become a yucca moth: minimal trait evolution needed to establish the obligate pollination mutualism

BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Issue 4 2010
JEREMY B. YODER
The origins of obligate pollination mutualisms, such as the classic yucca,yucca moth association, appear to require extensive trait evolution and specialization. To understand the extent to which traits truly evolved as part of establishing the mutualistic relationship, rather than being pre-adaptations, we used an expanded phylogenetic estimate with improved sampling of deeply-diverged groups to perform the first formal reconstruction of trait evolution in pollinating yucca moths and their nonpollinating relatives. Our analysis demonstrates that key life-history traits of yucca moths, including larval feeding in the floral ovary and the associated specialized cutting ovipositor, as well as colonization of woody monocots in xeric habitats, may have been established before the obligate mutualism with yuccas. Given these pre-existing traits, novel traits in the mutualist moths are limited to the active pollination behaviours and the tentacular appendages that facilitate pollen collection and deposition. These results suggest that a highly specialized obligate mutualism was built on the foundation of pre-existing interactions between early Prodoxidae and their host plants, and arose with minimal trait evolution. 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 847,855. [source]


Host specificity and reproductive success of yucca moths (Tegeticula spp.

MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, Issue 24 2009
Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae) mirror patterns of gene flow between host plant varieties of the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia: Agavaceae)
Abstract Coevolution between flowering plants and their pollinators is thought to have generated much of the diversity of life on Earth, but the population processes that may have produced these macroevolutionary patterns remain unclear. Mathematical models of coevolution in obligate pollination mutualisms suggest that phenotype matching between plants and their pollinators can generate reproductive isolation. Here, we test this hypothesis using a natural experiment that examines the role of natural selection on phenotype matching between yuccas and yucca moths (Tegeticula spp.) in mediating reproductive isolation between two varieties of Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia var. brevifolia and Y. brevifolia var. jaegeriana). Using passive monitoring techniques, DNA barcoding, microsatellite DNA genotyping, and sibship reconstruction, we track host specificity and the fitness consequences of host choice in a zone of sympatry. We show that the two moth species differ in their degree of host specificity and that oviposition on a foreign host plant results in the production of fewer offspring. This difference in host specificity between the two moth species mirrors patterns of chloroplast introgression from west to east between host varieties, suggesting that natural selection acting on pollinator phenotypes mediates gene flow and reproductive isolation between Joshua-tree varieties. [source]


How to become a yucca moth: minimal trait evolution needed to establish the obligate pollination mutualism

BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Issue 4 2010
JEREMY B. YODER
The origins of obligate pollination mutualisms, such as the classic yucca,yucca moth association, appear to require extensive trait evolution and specialization. To understand the extent to which traits truly evolved as part of establishing the mutualistic relationship, rather than being pre-adaptations, we used an expanded phylogenetic estimate with improved sampling of deeply-diverged groups to perform the first formal reconstruction of trait evolution in pollinating yucca moths and their nonpollinating relatives. Our analysis demonstrates that key life-history traits of yucca moths, including larval feeding in the floral ovary and the associated specialized cutting ovipositor, as well as colonization of woody monocots in xeric habitats, may have been established before the obligate mutualism with yuccas. Given these pre-existing traits, novel traits in the mutualist moths are limited to the active pollination behaviours and the tentacular appendages that facilitate pollen collection and deposition. These results suggest that a highly specialized obligate mutualism was built on the foundation of pre-existing interactions between early Prodoxidae and their host plants, and arose with minimal trait evolution. 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 847,855. [source]