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Specialist and generalist oviposition strategies in butterflies: maternal care or precocious young?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3187-3555
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4195-8920
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Functional Morphology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9190-6873
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology, Animal Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6379-7905
2016 (English)In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 180, no 2, 335-343 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Herbivorous insects specialized on a narrow set of plants are believed to be better adapted to their specific hosts. This hypothesis is supported by observations of herbivorous insect species with a broader diet breadth which seemingly pay a cost through decreased oviposition accuracy. Despite many studies investigating female oviposition behavior, there is a lack of knowledge on how larvae cope behaviorally with their mothers' egg-laying strategies. We have examined a unique system of five nymphalid butterfly species with different host plant ranges that all feed on the same host plant. The study of this system allowed us to compare at the species level how oviposition preference is related to neonate larval responses in several disadvantageous situations. We found a general co-adaptation between female and larval abilities, where species with more discriminating females had larvae that were less able to deal with a suboptimal initial feeding site. Conversely, relatively indiscriminate females had more precocious larvae with better abilities to cope with suboptimal sites. Despite similarities between the tested species with similar host ranges, there were also striking differences. Generalist and specialist species can be found side by side in many clades, with each clade having a specific evolutionary history. Such clade-specific, phylogenetically determined preconditions apparently have affected how precisely a broad or narrow diet breadth can be realized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 180, no 2, 335-343 p.
Keyword [en]
Host plant specialization, insect-plant interaction, preference-performance, co-adaptation, Nymphalidae
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118877DOI: 10.1007/s00442-015-3376-5ISI: 000368829300004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-118877DiVA: diva2:842017
Available from: 2015-07-16 Created: 2015-07-16 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evolutionary and mechanistic aspects of insect host plant preference
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolutionary and mechanistic aspects of insect host plant preference
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Plant feeding insects comprise about 25% of all animal species on earth and play an important role in all ecosystems. Although we understand that their association with plants is a key-factor driving the diversification in this group, we still have large gaps in our knowledge of the underlying processes of this relationship. Female choice of host plant is an important event in the insect life-cycle, as it is a major determinant of the larval food plant. In this Thesis I studied different aspects of insect host plant choice and used butterflies from the family Nymphalidae as my study system. I found that butterflies have a well developed olfactory system and that they use odors when searching for food or host plants. However, the information obtained from the odor of host plants does not seem to be sufficient for the studied species to make a distinction between plants of different qualities. Interestingly, even when in full contact with the leaf they do not make optimal decisions. I show for example that a sub-optimal female choice may be mitigated by larval ability to cope with unfavorable situations. Moreover, species that utilize a broader set of host plants may not be very well adapted to all the hosts they use, but at the same time they may survive in areas where there is only a subset of the plants available. Lastly, differences in the evolution of life-history traits between species can account for differences in how each species realizes its lifestyle. Thus, by incorporating findings on mechanisms of host plant choice with the ecological and evolutionary context of a species, our ability to explain the dynamics of host plant choice and insect-plant interactions can be improved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2016. 25 p.
Keyword
host plant choice, host range, diet breadth, butterfly, oviposition, specialist, generalist, insect-plant interaction, search behavior, olfaction, decision making, evolution, parasite-host interaction
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Ecology Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128488 (URN)978-91-7649-381-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
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Note

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

Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-03-30 Last updated: 2017-02-24Bibliographically approved

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