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Seasonal polyphenism in life history traits: Time costs of direct development in a butterfly
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7104-1406
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology.
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry. (Ecological Chemistry Group)
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry. (Ecological Chemistry Group)
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2010 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 64, 1377-1383 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Insects with two or more generations per year will generally experience different selection regimes depending on the season, and accordingly show seasonal polyphenisms. In butterflies, seasonal polyphenism has been shown with respect to morphology, life history characteristics and behaviour. In temperate bivoltine species, the directly developing generation is more time-constrained than the diapause generation and this may affect various life history traits, such as mating propensity (time from eclosion to mating). Here we test whether mating propensity differs between generations in Pieris napi, along with several physiological parameters, for males sex pheromone synthesis, and for females ovigeny index and fecundity.

As predicted, individuals of the directly developing generation – who have shorter time for pupal development - are more immature at eclosion; males take longer to synthesize the male sex pheromone after eclosion and also take longer to mate than diapause generation males. Females show the same physiological pattern, the directly developing females lay fewer eggs than diapausing females during the first days of their life. Nevertheless, the directly developing females mate faster after eclosion than diapausing females, indicating substantial adult time stress in this generation and possibly an adaptive value of shortening the pre-reproductive period.

Our study highlights how time-stress can be predictably different between generations, affecting both life history and behaviour. By analyzing several life history traits simultaneously we adopt a multi-trait approach to examining how adaptations and developmental constraints likely interplay to shape these seasonal polyphenisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2010. Vol. 64, 1377-1383 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38148DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-0952-xISI: 000280842600002OAI: diva2:306280

Author count:6;

Available from: 2010-03-29 Created: 2010-03-29 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Life history evolution in a bivoltine butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life history evolution in a bivoltine butterfly
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Evolution is not always straight-forward, as selection pressures may differ between different generations of the same species. This thesis focuses on the evolution of life history of the model species, the Green-veined White butterfly Pieris napi. In central Sweden P. napi has two generations per year. The directly developing summer generation is short-lived and time stressed, compared to the diapausing generation.

In paper I polyandry, defined as female mating rate, was shown to differ between generations but was unaffected by environmental factors. In paper II both males and females of the direct developing generation were shown to eclose more immature than the diapausing generation, indicating larval time constraints. Consistent with this, diapausing males mated sooner than direct developers. Directly developing females, however, mated sooner after eclosion than diapausing females, even though they are more immature. This was shown to negatively affect fecundity, but can pay off when the season is short.

Paper III shows that directly developing males have less sex pheromones at eclosion than diapausers, and the differences in sex pheromone production is consistent with developmental time constraints and the differences in mating system.

In P. napi and other polyandrous butterflies, males transfer a large, nutritious ejaculate at mating. Large ejaculates confer advantages under sperm competition, but as they are costly, males should adjust ejaculate size to the risk of sperm competition. In paper IV we found that males transfer on average 20% larger spermatophores under high male competition than at low competition. The same effect could be observed if we added male sex pheromone to the air in a mating cage without male-male competition. Paper V shows that males of the two generations respond differently to an increase in male-male competition, with diapausing males transferring larger spermatophores than direct developers at high male competition risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2012. 24 p.
Bivoltine, Diapause, Lepidoptera, Life history, Mating system, Pheromone, Polyphenism, Population density, Sexual selection, Sperm competition
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Research subject
Animal Ecology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81399 (URN)978-91-7447-592-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-07, Magnelisalen,Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Submitted manuscript.

Available from: 2012-11-15 Created: 2012-10-18 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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Larsdotter Mellström, HelenaFriberg, MagneWiklund, Christer
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