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Specialization, Speciation, and RadiationThe Evolutionary Biology of Herbivorous Insects$
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Kelley Tilmon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251328

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251328.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Conservation of Coevolved Insect Herbivores and Plants

Conservation of Coevolved Insect Herbivores and Plants

Chapter:
(p.325) Twenty-Three Conservation of Coevolved Insect Herbivores and Plants
Source:
Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation
Author(s):

Carol L. Boggs

Paul R. Ehrlich

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520251328.003.0023

One cannot consider the conservation of plants without thinking about their relationship with the creatures that eat them; and herbivorous insects have long been among the worst enemies of the global flora. It is no accident that the entire field of coevolution sprung from a study of the reciprocal evolutionary interaction of butterfly caterpillars and their photosynthesizing victims. Changes in disturbance regimes due either directly to human activities or indirectly to introductions as previously noted can threaten host plants, their coevolved herbivorous insects, and the evolutionary dynamic between them. This chapter examines each of the sources of conservation threat, both to coevolved populations of plants and their insect herbivores, and to the coevolutionary dynamics themselves. It provides a conceptual overview of current knowledge of the conservation problems associated with coevolved plant–insect interactions. The chapter discusses habitat destruction, the role of host range in the conservation of insects, spatial ecology, species introductions, changes in disturbance regimes, and climate change and its implications for the conservation of plant–insect herbivore systems.

Keywords:   conservation, coevolution, insect herbivores, plants, habitat destruction, disturbance regimes, plant–insect interactions, climate change, species introductions

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