Recent research on parasite evolution has highlighted the importance of host specialization in speciation, either through host-switching or cospeciation. Many parasites show common patterns of host specificity, with higher host specificity where host abundance is high and reliable, phylogenetically conservative host specificity, and formation of races on or in different host species. Recent advances in our understanding of host specificity and speciation patterns in a variety of animal parasites provides valuable insights into the evolutionary biology of mistletoes.
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