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Asymmetric life-history decision-making in butterfly larvae
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4560-6271
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2011 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 165, no 2, 301-310 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In temperate environments, insects appearing in several generations in the growth season typically have to decide during the larval period whether to develop into adulthood, or to postpone adult emergence until next season by entering a species-specific diapause stage. This decision is typically guided by environmental cues experienced during development. An early decision makes it possible to adjust growth rate, which would allow the growing larva to respond to time stress involved in direct development, whereas a last-minute decision would instead allow the larva to use up-to-date information about which developmental pathway is the most favourable under the current circumstances. We study the timing of the larval pathway decision-making between entering pupal winter diapause and direct development in three distantly related butterflies (Pieris napi, Araschnia levana and Pararge aegeria). We pinpoint the timing of the larval diapause decision by transferring larvae from first to last instars from long daylength (inducing direct development) to short daylength conditions (inducing diapause), and vice versa. Results show that the pathway decision is typically made in the late instars in all three species, and that the ability to switch developmental pathway late in juvenile life is conditional; larvae more freely switched from diapause to direct development than in the opposite direction. We contend that this asymmetry is influenced by the additional physiological preparations needed to survive the long and cold winter period, and that the reluctance to make a late decision to enter diapause has the potential to be a general trait among temperate insects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 165, no 2, 301-310 p.
Keyword [en]
Diapause/direct development, Seasonal polyphenism, Phenotypic plasticity, Lepidoptera, Developmental constraints
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Systematic Zoology; Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43771DOI: 10.1007/s00442-010-1804-0ISI: 000286224900005PubMedID: 20953962OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43771DiVA: diva2:359357
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2010-10-27 Created: 2010-10-27 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The diapause switch: Evolution of alternative developmental pathways in a butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The diapause switch: Evolution of alternative developmental pathways in a butterfly
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Diapause decision is a classic example of a threshold switch mechanism with cascading effects on morphology, behaviour and life-history traits. This thesis addresses the downstream effects of the insect diapause switch, with the main focus on pathway-specific regulation of life-history traits, using the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) as a study species. The ultimate pathway decision is made towards the end of larval development and allows the larvae to take into account up-to-date information from the environment about future conditions (Paper I, IV). However, already from an early point in development the larvae are sensitive to environmental cues and continuously adjust their growth trajectory in accordance to current information about the environmental conditions to be expected in future (Paper IV). An asymmetry in the ability to change from one developmental pathway to another at a late point in larval development suggests that the diapause and the direct pathway require different physiological preparations (Paper IV). Pathway-specific regulation of traits downstream of the diapause switch is maintained by ongoing selection. When the direct pathway is not regularly expressed, as with a shift from bivoltinism to univoltinism, relaxed selection on the unexpressed pathway leads to genetic drift and loss of protandry (Paper II, III). Natural populations display local adaptations in the diapause switch with an increase in critical daylengths as there is a gradual shift from bivoltinism to univoltinism (Paper III). This thesis highlights two aspects of the diapause decision, the determination of how and when this decision is made as well as the way the resulting pathways are moulded by selection in order to produce adaptive seasonal polyphenism in life-history traits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2014. 18 p.
Keyword
Developmental plasticity, phenotypic plasticity, developmental switch, threshold trait, life-cycle regulation, direct development, Lepidoptera
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103200 (URN)978-91-7447-917-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-12, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-05-22 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2014-05-20Bibliographically approved

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