Niche separation in space and time between two sympatric sister species—a case of ecological pleiotropy
2008 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology, ISSN 0269-7653Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract We investigate the niche separation in space and time between the Palearctic sister species Leptidea sinapis and L. reali (Lepidoptera, Pieridae) in central Sweden. Using field sampling, we show that L. reali is a habitat specialist confined to meadows, whereas L. sinapis is a habitat generalist also inhabiting forests. This difference in habitat utilization was corroborated by experimental release of laboratory-reared L. sinapis and L. reali in two adjacent forest and meadow habitats during their natural flight period; virtually all recaptured L. reali that were released in the forest were later caught in the meadow, whereas L. sinapis shifted equally often from meadow to forest as in the opposite direction. In the field, both species fly in May–June, but L. reali appears on average a week earlier in spring and has a substantial second generation in July, whereas L. sinapis is practically univoltine. When overwintered pupae were incubated under identical conditions in the laboratory, females did, however, not differ in phenology, and L. sinapis males actually emerged earlier than L. reali males. When larvae were reared at 23°C on the host plant Lotus corniculatus at a range of daylengths, both species produced a substantial proportion of directly developing individuals at an 18.5 h daylength or longer. When reared at 23°C and a 22 h daylength, L. reali showed an overall higher propensity to develop directly than L. sinapis on plant species originating from both the meadow and the forest habitat. Both Leptidea species showed a lower propensity to enter direct development on forest associated plants than on meadow associated plants. Hence, we suggest that the difference in phenology and voltinism between L. sinapis and L. reali is largely the result of environmentally implemented ecological pleiotropic effects caused by the between-species difference in habitat preference.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Temporal and spatial niche-partitioning, Geographic mosaic, Secondary contact, Diapause, Direct development, Host plants
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-20928DOI: doi:10.1007/s10682-007-9155-yISI: 000251651100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-20928DiVA: diva2:187454