Host plant choice in the comma butterfly-larval choosiness may ameliorate effects of indiscriminate oviposition
2014 (English)In: Insect Science, ISSN 1672-9609, E-ISSN 1744-7917, Vol. 21, no 4, 499-506 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In most phytophagous insects, the larval diet strongly affects future fitness and in species that do not feed on plant parts as adults, larval diet is the main source of nitrogen. In many of these insect host plant systems, the immature larvae are considered to be fully dependent on the choice of the mothers, who, in turn, possess a highly developed host recognition system. This circumstance allows for a potential mother-offspring conflict, resulting in the female maximizing her fecundity at the expense of larval performance on suboptimal hosts. In two experiments, we aimed to investigate this relationship in the polyphagous comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, by comparing the relative acceptance of low- and medium-ranked hosts between females and neonate larvae both within individuals between life stages, and between mothers and their offspring. The study shows a variation between females in oviposition acceptance of low-ranked hosts, and that the degree of acceptance in the mothers correlates with the probability of acceptance of the same host in the larvae. We also found a negative relationship between stages within individuals as there was a higher acceptance of lower ranked hosts in females who had abandoned said host as a larva. Notably, however, neonate larvae of the comma butterfly did not unconditionally accept to feed from the least favorable host species even when it was the only food source. Our results suggest the possibility that the disadvantages associated with a generalist oviposition strategy can be decreased by larval participation in host plant choice.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 21, no 4, 499-506 p.
host plant choice, insect-host plant interaction, mobility, oviposition behavior, parent-offspring conflict, specialization
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107022DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12059ISI: 000339646100011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-107022DiVA: diva2:743776