Diversification and spatial structuring in the mutualism between Ficus septica and its pollinating wasps in insular South East Asia

Abstract : Background: Interspecific interactions have long been assumed to play an important role in diversification. Mutualistic interactions, such as nursery pollination mutualisms, have been proposed as good candidates for diversification through co-speciation because of their intricate nature. However, little is known about how speciation and diversification proceeds in emblematic nursery pollination systems such as figs and fig wasps. Here, we analyse diversification in connection with spatial structuring in the obligate mutualistic association between Ficus septica and its pollinating wasps throughout the Philippines and Taiwan. Results: Ceratosolen wasps pollinating F. septica are structured into a set of three vicariant black coloured species, and a fourth yellow coloured species whose distribution overlaps with those of the black species. However, two black pollinator species were found to co-occur on Lanyu island. Microsatellite data on F. septica indicates the presence of three gene pools that broadly mirrors the distribution of the three black clades. Moreover, receptive fig odours, the specific message used by pollinating wasps to locate their host tree, varied among locations. Conclusions: F. septica and its black pollinator clades exhibited similar geographic structuring. This could be due originally to geographic barriers leading to isolation, local adaptation, and finally co-structuring. Nevertheless, the co-occurrence of two black pollinator species on Lanyu island suggests that the parapatric distribution of the black clades is now maintained by the inability of migrating individuals of black pollinators to establish populations outside their range. On the other hand, the distribution of the yellow clade strongly suggests an initial case of character displacement followed by subsequent range extension: in our study system, phenotypic or microevolutionary plasticity has allowed the yellow clade to colonise hosts presenting distinct odours. Hence, while variation in receptive fig odours allows specificity in the interaction, this variation does not necessarily lead to coevolutionary plant-insect diversification. Globally, our results evidence evolutionary plasticity in the fig-fig wasp mutualism. This is the first documentation of the presence of two distinct processes in pollinating fig wasp diversification on a host species: the formation of vicariant species and the co-occurrence of other species over large parts of their ranges probably made possible by character displacement.
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BMC Evolutionary Biology, BioMed Central, 2017, 17, pp.207. 〈10.1186/s12862-017-1034-8〉
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Lillian Jennifer Rodriguez, Anthony Bain, Lien-Siang Chou, Lucie Conchou, Astrid Cruaud, et al.. Diversification and spatial structuring in the mutualism between Ficus septica and its pollinating wasps in insular South East Asia. BMC Evolutionary Biology, BioMed Central, 2017, 17, pp.207. 〈10.1186/s12862-017-1034-8〉. 〈hal-01589491〉

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