Although coevolution is widely accepted as a concept, its importance as a driving factor in biological diversification is still being debated. Because coevolution operates mainly at the population level, reciprocal coadaptations should result in trait covariation among populations of strongly interacting species. A long-tongued fly (Prosoeca ganglbaueri) and its primary floral food plant (Zaluzianskya microsiphon) were studied across both of their geographical ranges. The dimensions of the fly's proboscis and the flower's corolla tube length varied significantly among sites and were strongly correlated with each other. In addition, the match between tube length of flowers and tongue length of flies was found to affect plant fitness. The relationship between flower tube length and fly proboscis length remained significant in models that included various alternative environmental (altitude, longitude, latitude) and allometric (fly body size, flower diameter) predictor variables. We conclude that coevolution is a compelling explanation for the geographical covariation in flower depth and fly proboscis length.
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Vol. 62 • No. 1