Body size and host range in European Heteroptera

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Abstract

We used data on body size and host range of phytophagous Heteroptera in central Europe, an inverse measure of specialisation, to analyse the relationship of body size vs specialisation: 1) we found a clear positive relationship between body size and host range using species as independent data points. 2) However, a nested analysis of variance shows that most of the variance in body size occurred at higher taxonomic levels whereas most of the variance in host specialisation occurred between species. This suggests different phylogenetic inertia of body size and specialisation. Nevertheless, using means of different higher taxonomic levels there is still a significant positive correlation between body size and host range. 3) With more sophisticated methods of correcting for the phylogenetic relatedness between species, the positive correlation between body size and host range still holds, despite the different assumptions of each method. Thus, the relationship between body size and host range is a very robust pattern in true bugs.

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