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Keywords:

  • By-product;
  • Cape flora;
  • distribution ranges;
  • plants;
  • pollination;
  • reinforcement;
  • speciation

Abstract . Reproductive isolation can evolve either as a by-product of divergent selection or through reinforcement. We used the Cape flora of South Africa, known for its high level of pollination specialization, as a model system to test the potential role of shifts in pollination system in the speciation process. Comparative analysis of 41 sisterspecies pairs (representing Geraniaceae, Iridaceae, and Orchidaceae) for which complete pollinator, edaphic, and distribution data are available showed that for sister species with overlapping distribution ranges, pollination system shifts are significantly associated with edaphic shifts. In contrast, there is no significant association between pollination system shifts and edaphic shifts for allopatric sister species. These results are interpreted as evidence for reinforcement.