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Effects of sequential diets in the comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album: testing predictions from gene expression
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4195-8920
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Differential gene expression, depending on host plant diet, has been found in the larval mid-gut of the polyphagous butterfly Polygonia c-album. Expression similarities between the hosts elm/sallow and between elm/stinging nettle suggest that there are special patterns of genes for utilizing trees and others for urticalean rosids.

In order to assess the importance of different genes tailored to host use, we investigated the costs of switching larval diet. Negative effects were expected to be more pronounced when switching between nettle/sallow than between elm/nettle (urticalean rosids) or elm/sallow (trees) since similarities in mid-gut gene expression are fewer.

However, larvae seemed surprisingly good at adjusting to new environments. Although costs were found after a single switch from sallow to nettle in the 3rd instar as well as on a daily basis the results were not consistent. More surprisingly, we found evidence that costs are involved with a single diet switch to elm. Results suggest rapid physiological adjustment to the new environment, signifying that the induced gene expression is reversible or at least does not seem to inhibit the induction of another gene complex.

Keyword [en]
phenotypic plasticity, polyspecialist, Nymphalidae
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68075OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-68075DiVA: diva2:471761
Available from: 2012-01-02 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Life-history consequenses of host plant choice in the comma butterfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Life-history consequenses of host plant choice in the comma butterfly
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is much evidence that herbivory is a key innovation for the tremendous success of insect. In this thesis I have investigated different aspects of host plant utilization and phenotypic plasticity using the polyphagous comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album. Even though external conditions affect a phenotypic plastic response, the outcome is often influenced by a genetic background which may differ among populations. In Paper I we suspected the genetic background to seasonal polymorphism to be X-linked. However, results from interspecific hybridization between two populations suggested that diapause response is instead inherited in a mainly autosomally additive fashion, with a possible influence of sexual antagonism on males. In Paper II we showed that female oviposition preference is not a plastic response influenced by larval experience, but has a genetic background coupled to host plant suitability. Further, there is a strong individual correlation between larval host plant acceptance and female host plant specificity (Paper III). We believe this to be a larval feed-back genetically linked to female host specificity: offspring to ‘choosy’ specialist mothers benefit by remaining on the original host while offspring to less discriminating generalist mothers should risk inspecting the surroundings, thus compensating for potential poor female choice. In the larval mid-gut, genes are differentially expressed depending on host plant diet (Paper IV). Therefore, we expected to find fitness consequences of host plant switch. However, although growth rate was affected in a few treatments, larvae were generally surprisingly good at adjusting to new diets (Paper V). To conclude, host plant choice in both female and larval life stage is connected to performance. Combined with increased understanding about the plastic response to diet intake and seasonal polymorphism we have gained further insights into the processes of local adaptations and speciation in the Lepidoptera.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2012. 36 p.
Keyword
Nymphalidae, voltinism, larval performance, Hopkins’ Host Selection Principle, GeneFishing, real-time qPCR, Urtica dioica, Salix cinerea, Betula pubescens, Ulmus glabra, Ribes uva-crispa.
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68076 (URN)978-91-7447-432-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-02-10, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted Manuscript; Paper 5: ManuscriptAvailable from: 2012-01-19 Created: 2012-01-02 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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