EVOLUTION: Menage a Trois

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 171a
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5515.171a

Coevolution between species (for example, between plants and seed predators) can occur in different ways and at different rates in different parts of a landscape. Benkman et al. have surveyed the geographic mosaic of interaction between red crossbills and lodgepole pine in the Rocky Mountains of North America. Where a preemptive and dominant seed predator, the red squirrel, is present there is a coevolutionary coldspot, meaning that the primary interaction occurs between the squirrels and the pines, leaving the crossbills to adapt to an averaged pine cone structure. Where squirrels are absent crossbills coevolve with the cones in a coevolutionary hotspot. This offers a clear case of the geographical distribution of one species (here, the squirrel) influencing and varying the selective regime for two others. — AMS

Evolution 55, 282 (2001).

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