Phylogenetic isolation of host trees affects assembly of local Heteroptera communities

A. Vialatte, R. Bailey, C. Vasseur, A. Matocq, M. Gossner, D. Everhart, X. Vitrac, A. Belhadj, A. Ernoult, A. Prinzing

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18 Citations (Scopus)


A host may be physically isolated in space and then may correspond to a geographical island, but it may also be separated from its local neighbours by hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary history, and may form in this case an evolutionarily distinct island. We test how this affects the assembly processes of the host's colonizers, this question being until now only invoked at the scale of physically distinct islands or patches. We studied the assembly of true bugs in crowns of oaks surrounded by phylogenetically more or less closely related trees. Despite the short distances (less than 150 m) between phylogenetically isolated and non-isolated trees, we found major differences between their Heteroptera faunas. We show that phylogenetically isolated trees support smaller numbers and fewer species of Heteroptera, an increasing proportion of phytophages and a decreasing proportion of omnivores, and proportionally more non-host-specialists. These differences were not due to changes in the nutritional quality of the trees, i.e. species sorting, which we accounted for. Comparison with predictions from meta-community theories suggests that the assembly of local Heteroptera communities may be strongly driven by independent metapopulation processes at the level of the individual species. We conclude that the assembly of communities on hosts separated from their neighbours by long periods of evolutionary history is qualitatively and quantitatively different from that on hosts established surrounded by closely related trees. Potentially, the biotic selection pressure on a host might thus change with the evolutionary proximity of the surrounding hosts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2236
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1691
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • tropical forests
  • biodiversity
  • diversity
  • insects
  • ecology
  • metacommunities
  • biogeography
  • populations
  • landscape
  • evolution

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    Vialatte, A., Bailey, R., Vasseur, C., Matocq, A., Gossner, M., Everhart, D., Vitrac, X., Belhadj, A., Ernoult, A., & Prinzing, A. (2010). Phylogenetic isolation of host trees affects assembly of local Heteroptera communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences, 277(1691), 2227-2236.