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Science. 1981 Feb 27;211(4485):887-93.

Specialization: species property or local phenomenon?


Many herbivorous insects have generalized diets over the species' entire geographical ranges but they function as specialists with restricted diets in local communities. Local feeding specialization can be produced by biochemical, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary processes. Much evidence is incompatible with the widely held assumptions that diet breadth is a species characteristic and that specialization among herbivorous insects implies greater efficiency and less niche overlap.

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