Strategic larval decision-making in a bivoltine butterfly
2012 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 169, no 3, 623-635 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In temperate areas, insect larvae must decide between entering winter diapause or developing directly and reproducing in the same season. Long daylength and high temperature promote direct development, which is generally associated with a higher growth rate. In this work, we investigated whether the larval pathway decision precedes the adjustment of growth rate (state-independent), or whether the pathway decision is conditional on the individual's growth rate (state-dependent), in the butterfly Pieris napi. This species typically makes the pathway decision in the penultimate instar. We measured growth rate throughout larval development under two daylengths: slightly shorter and slightly longer than the critical daylength. Results indicate that the pathway decision can be both state-independent and state-dependent; under the shorter daylength condition, most larvae entered diapause, and direct development was chosen exclusively by a small subset of larvae showing the highest growth rates already in the early instars; under the longer daylength condition, most larvae developed directly, and the diapause pathway was chosen exclusively by a small subset of slow-growing individuals. Among the remainder, the choice of pathway was independent of the early growth rate; larvae entering diapause under the short daylength grew as fast as or faster than the direct developers under the longer daylength in the early instars, whereas the direct developers grew faster than the diapausers only in the ultimate instar. Hence, the pathway decision was state-dependent in a subset with a very high or very low growth rate, whereas the decision was state-independent in the majority of the larvae, which made the growth rate adjustment downstream from the pathway decision.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 169, no 3, 623-635 p.
Diapause/direct development, Phenotypic plasticity, Life history, Developmental switch, Developmental constraints
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80036DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2238-zISI: 000305229400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-80036DiVA: diva2:551974