Evolution of Behavioural and Ecological Diversity

cover of Evolution of Behavioural and Ecological Diversity

Presents a novel, ‘model clades’ approach to the study of biodiversification, explicitly integrating behaviour, ecology, taxonomy, phylogenetics, and evolution.

This book presents a novel, ‘model clades’ approach to the study of biodiversification, explicitly integrating behaviour, ecology, taxonomy, phylogenetics, and evolution.

The subjects comprise a single lineage of phytophagous thrips that has radiated on Australian Acacia, yielding over 250 species in 30 genera, of which 140 species and nine genera are newly described.

This radiation has generated four ecological suites of species: gall-inducers (some with defensive ‘soldier’ castes); species that glue phyllodes together; parasites of these two types of domicile-formers; opportunistic species using old domiciles or other microhabitats.

The causes and consequences are explored of this behavioural-ecological diversification, with special emphasis on how this study has provided insights into the evolution of social behaviour, of host-plant use, and of exploitative behaviours.

The driving force behind the system is the arid and unpredictable Australian climate, which has selected for diverse means of creating, usurping, and co-opting domiciles. These ecological pressures have generated a positive feedback mechanism, such that adoption and modification of new host-plants by some thrips species creates further niches for additional ones.

The remarkable morphological, behavioural and ecological variation represented by these thrips means that they can be considered as a microcosm for understanding the processes that generate biodiversity among all phytophagous insects, and indeed among all animals.

This book includes Botanical Annexe by BR Maslin and indexes to subjects, plants and insects.