The influence of interaction type and feeding location on the phylogeographic structure of the yucca moth community associated with Hesperoyucca whipplei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants have been central in generating diversification in both groups. We used a community of four yucca moth species, monophagous on the host plant Hesperoyucca whipplei (Agavaceae), to examine how the type of interaction and where insects feed within a plant influence phylogeographic structure of herbivorous insects. These four species included two fruit-feeders, one mutualistic and one commensalistic, and two commensalistic stalk-feeders. Surveys based on mtDNA cytochrome oxidase I sequence data demonstrated that the moth species differed in phylogeographic history. Populations of the mutualist pollinator, Tegeticula maculata, exhibited the most subdivision in comparison to the three commensal Prodoxus species (both genera in Lepidoptera, Prodoxidae). Feeding location was also correlated with differences in phylogeographic history through its influence on population sizes and the probability of gene flow. The results suggest that both the outcome of interactions and where insects feed may influence population structure. (C) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
  • Zoology


  • host utilization, mutualism, Yucca, phylogeography, yucca moths, comparative
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-406
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

View all (1)