Herbivorous insects and other small consumers are often specialized both in use of particular host taxa and in use of particular host tissues. Such consumers also often seem to show consistent differences in the rates of evolution of these two dimensions of host use, implying common processes, but this has been little studied. Here we quantify these rates of change in host use evolution in a major radiation of herbivorous insects, the Chrysomeloidea, whose diversity has been attributed to their use of flowering plants. We find a significant difference in the rates of evolutionary change in these two dimensions of host use, with host taxon associations most labile. There are apparently similar differences in rates of host use evolution in other parasite groups, suggesting the generality of this pattern. Divergences in parasite form associated with use of different host tissues may facilitate resource partitioning among successive adaptive radiations on particular host taxa.
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Vol. 58 • No. 9