Plant-insect interactions constitute fundamental component communities of terrestrial ecosystems  . The different types of plant-insect associations in nature are thought to have driven both plant and insect radiation . The advantages of animal-mediated pollination have led to the evolution and diversification of specialist mutualisms between, for instance, plants and birds (e.g. ), while the need for protection has spawned mutualisms between various tropical tree species and ants   . Herbivory, on the other hand, has led to an arm’s race of plant defence mechanisms and insect attack and feeding habits . An ever-increasing number of studies demonstrate the importance of biotic interactions in driving evolutionary change, but considerably fewer reveal the mechanisms by which this occurs in real-time  .
|Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) on milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Credit: Kailen Mooney|