In nature, spatiotemporally dynamic coevolutionary processes play major roles in the foundation and maintenance of biodiversity. Here, we examined the arms race coevolution involving a seed-eating weevil with a long snout and its camellia plant host with a thick fruit coat (pericarp) throughout the marked climatic gradient observed across the Japanese islands. Results demonstrated that female weevils, which bored holes through camellia pericarps to lay eggs into seeds, had evolved much longer snouts than males, especially in areas in which Japanese camellia pericarps were very thick. The thickness of the plant pericarp was heritable, and the camellia plant evolved a significantly thicker pericarp on islands with the weevil than on islands without it. Across populations with weevils, resource allocation to plant defense increased with increasing annual mean temperature or annual precipitation, thereby geographically differentiating the evolutionary and ecological interactions between the two species. Given that the coevolutionary relationship exhibited appreciable variation across a relatively small range of annual mean temperatures, ongoing global climatic change can dramatically alter the coevolutionary process, thereby changing the ecological interaction between these species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics