UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 4-13-2016

Document Type



Copyright © 2016 Andrew J. Gebara II, Shivani Jadeja, and Brigitte Tenhumberg


We studied the yucca-yucca moth pollination mutualism that evolved 40 MYA. • It is a nursery pollination mutualism where host plants depend on their specialized nursery pollinator for seed production, which is the host plant’s measure of fitness. • Nursery pollinators lay eggs in the flowers they pollinate, and the pollinator’s larvae depend on the produced seeds for food. • Some yucca moth species lay eggs in developing fruits and do not pollinate flowers. Non-pollinating yucca moth’s larvae also depend on yucca seeds for food. • This system has other seed-eating larvae that reduce seeds that are important for the fitness of both host plants and pollinator larvae.