Tuesday Dec 13th
Specialization and trade-offs in plant-feeding insects
MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University
Most plant-feeding insects are ecological specialists limited to one or a few closely related host-plant species. This widespread specialization may be favored by natural selection if performance trade-offs limit the use of multiple distinct hosts, but evidence for such trade-offs has been difficult to find. I will discuss a novel approach I have taken to investigate adaptive trade-offs by comparing host-use across insect species. Using data from systematic surveys of armored scale insect (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) host-use in tropical rainforest canopies around the world, as well as digitized museum collections of Hemiptera and Lepidoptera specimens, I will argue that non-adaptive processes may play a bigger role than trade-offs in the long-term evolution of host-use among plant-feeding insects.
The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 5:45 PM) at the Changsho, 1712 Mass Ave, Cambridge.
CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (5:45 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.