Reinforced Specificity of Pollinator Moths

  • Atsushi KawakitaEmail author
  • Makoto Kato
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The remarkably high level of partner specificity is a hallmark feature of the leafflower–leafflower moth mutualism. Together with the fig–fig wasp and yucca–yucca moth systems, obligate pollination mutualisms provide some of the best examples of highly species-specific plant–insect associations. However, the evolutionary processes underlying these patterns are poorly understood. The high degree of specificity in pollinating seed parasites is often regarded as the fortuitous result of specialization in their ancestors because these insects are derived from endophytic herbivores that are themselves highly host-specific. This chapter focuses on the comparison of the level of host specificity in Epicephala to those of purely parasitic gracillariid relatives as a test of whether mutualism reinforces partner specificity. When interpreted with what is known in the fig and yucca systems, such an analysis serves as a useful approach to determine how partner specificity is shaped in coevolved mutualisms.


Caloptilia Cuphodes Diphtheroptila Epicephala Glochidion Gracillariidae Host specificity Phylogeny 

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsuJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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