Abstract

Species of at least 5 orders of insects, 6 families of birds, and 2 orders of mammals, in various combinations, can exploit the cones and seeds of most species of conifers. Lodgepole pine is the exception to this pattern of broad taxonomic diversity of seed predators in that only pine squirrels and coreid bugs attack its serotinous cones. The contrast between lodgepole pine and other conifers demonstrates that large intrinsic variation in the abundance of a resource fosters the evolution of a broad range of taxonomic groups to exploit the resource. The diverse groups'are limited by different predators and alternate resources when conifer seeds independently decrease in abundance.