Data from: Patterns of host plant utilization and diversification in the brush-footed butterflies
Hamm, Christopher A.; Fordyce, James A. (2014), Data from: Patterns of host plant utilization and diversification in the brush-footed butterflies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p5v8g
Herbivorous insects represent one of the most successful animal radiations known. They occupy a wide range of niches, feed on a great variety of plants, and are species rich; yet the factors that influence their diversification are poorly understood. Host breadth is often cited as a major factor influencing diversification, and, according to the Oscillation Hypothesis, shifts from generalist to specialist feeding states increase the diversification rate for a clade. We explored the relationship between host breadth and diversification within the Nymphalidae (Lepidoptera) and explicitly tested predictions of the Oscillation Hypothesis. We found strong evidence of diversification rate heterogeneity, but no difference in host breadth between clades with a higher diversification rate compared to their sisters. We also found some clades exhibited phylogenetic non-independence in host breadth and these clades had lower host plant turnover than expected by chance, suggesting host breadth is evolutionarily constrained. Finally, we found that transitions among host breadth categories varied, but the likelihood of reductions in host breadth was greater than that of increases. Our results indicate host breadth is de-coupled from diversification rate within the Nymphalidae, and that constraints on diet breadth might play an important role in the evolution of herbivorous insects.