Phylogenetic signal in module composition and species connectivity in compartmentalized host-parasite networks

Boris R. Krasnov, Miguel A. Fortuna, David Mouillot, Irina S. Khokhlova, Georgy I. Shenbrot, Robert Poulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Across different taxa, networks of mutualistic or antagonistic interactions show consistent architecture. Most networks are modular, with modules being distinct species subsets connected mainly with each other and having few connections to other modules. We investigate the phylogenetic relatedness of species within modules and whether a phylogenetic signal is detectable in the within- and among-module connectivity of species using 27 mammal-flea networks from the Palaearctic. In the 24 networks that were modular, closely related hosts co-occurred in the same module more often than expected by chance; in contrast, this was rarely the case for parasites. The within- and among-module connectivity of the same host or parasite species varied geographically. However, among-module but not within-module connectivity of host and parasites was somewhat phylogenetically constrained. These findings suggest that the establishment of host-parasite networks results from the interplay between phylogenetic influences acting mostly on hosts and local factors acting on parasites, to create an asymmetrically constrained pattern of geographic variation in modular structure. Modularity in host-parasite networks seems to result from the shared evolutionary history of hosts and by trait convergence among unrelated parasites. This suggests profound differences between hosts and parasites in the establishment and functioning of bipartite antagonistic networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • Fleas
  • Mammals
  • Modules
  • Networks
  • Phylogeny
  • Roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Phylogenetic signal in module composition and species connectivity in compartmentalized host-parasite networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this