Comparisons between closely related species in different habitats provide a window into understanding how biotic factors shape evolutionary pathways. Weevils in the genus Curculio have radiated extensively across the Palearctic, where similar ecomorphs have evolved independently on different hosts. We examined ecological and morphological data for 31 Curculio species using multivariate statistics to determine which morphological traits covary and which correlate with the host seed size. A subset of 15 taxa for which phylogenetic relationships were known were used for comparative analyses and inferring historical patterns of trait evolution. The morphological analyses suggest rostrum size increased proportionately to body size in both males and females and that both rostrum and body size correlate with host seed size but that rostrum shape does not correlate with any of the seed traits used in the analyses. Host shifts from small seeds to considerably larger seeds or vice versa have occurred several times independently and historical trait evolution indicates that these host shifts were accompanied by morphological changes in rostrum size. These patterns suggest that seed size is an important selective agent for changes in rostrum length along with body size and thus may be a key factor promoting morphological differentiation in the genus Curculio.
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Vol. 58 • No. 9