Past Dynamics of Speciation in Andean Mountain Rainforests

  • Konrad FiedlerEmail author
  • Patrick Strutzenberger
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 221)


Tropical Andean mountain rainforests harbor extremely high species densities in many animal and plant taxa. This species density could either be related to massive radiation events during Pleistocene climatic oscillations, or may result from recurrent episodes of reassembly of species of more ancient origin, to form current biota concomitant with climatic fluctuations. A calibrated phylogeny of one particularly species-rich insect genus (moths of the geometrid genus Eois) revealed that most speciation events in that clade of highly host-specific herbivores occurred in the Miocene; only very few splits extended into the Pleistocene. This temporal pattern of diversification mirrors major radiation phases in the principal host plant family (Piperaceae) of these moths. This hints to biotic interactions as driving force of adaptive speciation. Calibrated phylogenies from various other Andean organisms likewise give no indication of massive speciation fostered during Pleistocene climate fluctuations.


Diversification Rate Climatic Niche Pleistocene Climate Geometrid Moth Refuge Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Florian Bodner, Manuela Zimmermann, Lisamarie Lehner, Ivonne Daniela Vásquez Quezada, Brigitte Gottsberger, and Christine Truxa for assistance with field sampling, laboratory work, access to literature, and/or comments on the manuscript. Further thanks go to the collaborators of the Research Unit in Ecuador, and especially to the staff and inhabitants of the Estación Científica San Francisco. The Ministerio del Medio Ambiente del Ecuador issued research permits, and the foundation Nature and Culture International (Loja, Ecuador) as well as the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja gave logistic support and allowed access to the study area and their facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Tropical Ecology and Animal BiodiversityUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Senckenberg Natural History CollectionsDresdenGermany

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