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Where in the tropics are all of the specialist armored scale insects?
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  • Daniel Peterson,
  • Nate Hardy,
  • Geoffrey Morse,
  • Takao Itioka,
  • Jiufeng Wei,
  • Benjamin Normark
Daniel Peterson
University of Massachusetts System

Corresponding Author:daniel.alex.peterson@gmail.com

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Nate Hardy
Auburn University
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Geoffrey Morse
University of San Diego
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Takao Itioka
Kyoto University
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Jiufeng Wei
Shanxi Agricultural University
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Benjamin Normark
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Most herbivorous insects are diet specialists in spite of the apparent advantages of being a generalist. This conundrum might be explained by fitness trade-offs on alternative host plants, yet evidence of such trade-offs has been elusive. Another hypothesis is that specialization is non-adaptive, evolving through neutral population genetic processes and within the bounds of historical constraints. Here we report on a striking lack of evidence for the adaptiveness of specificity in tropical canopy communities of armored scale insects. We show that specialists abound and that host-use is phylogenetically conservative, but in comparison to generalists, specialists occur on fewer of their potential hosts, and are no more abundant where they do occur. Of course local communities might not reflect regional diversity patterns. But based on our samples, comprising hundreds of species of hosts and armored scale insects at two widely separated sites, host-use specialists do not appear to outperform generalists.
01 Jun 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
02 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
02 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
10 Jul 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Jul 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
14 Aug 20201st Revision Received
17 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
17 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
17 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Sep 2020Editorial Decision: Accept