Abstract 9
Pavlíček, T. and Nevo, E. 1995: Genetic diversity and the width of the food niche of phytophagous insects. Biologia 50: 143-149.
We have shown that the protein diversity, He, of phytophagous insects is significantly correlated with the number of plant genera fed upon. Positive significant correlations were obtained only in Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. The samples made on a generic level have shown that a positive correlation exists. The average diversity of the single food genera insect was He = 0.01 while that of the multiplant genera insect was higher, He = 0.03. The difference is significant. Similar differences exist between three distinct groups of phytophagous insects, one including species feeding only on one genus of plants, a second involved species that feed on more than one genus from the same family, and a third was made up of species that feed on plant genera from different families. It seems reasonable that genetic diversity of phytophagous insects cannot be explained only as an influence of effective population size. Our results support the selective hypothesis of maintenance of protein polymorphism. This correlation may underline a basic causation, because the emerging pattern seems to be repetitive and consistent over many taxa of phytophagous insects.