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The genetics and cost of chemical defense in the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.)

Holloway, G. J. ORCID:, de Jong, P. W. and Ottenheim, M. (1993) The genetics and cost of chemical defense in the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.). Evolution, 47 (4). pp. 1229-1239. ISSN 1558-5646

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.1993.tb02149.x


Ladybirds (Coccinellidae) defend themselves against attack by vertebrate predators by exuding a fluid from the femero-tibial joints. This fluid carries a noxious or toxic alkaloid. The amount of fluid produced during a single attack can be very high (up to 20% of fresh body weight), and the weight of the self-synthesized alkaloid can amount to several percent of the weight of the fluid. A study was carried out on these two defense characters and two other fitness characters (body weight and growth rate) to demonstrate a cost to defense in the form of genetic trade-offs between characters. The two sexes were analyzed separately, and a jackknife procedure was used to attach errors to the estimates of Va and cova. All four characters were associated with high levels of Va, but the cova values were mixed, some being negative and others positive. Principal-component analysis indicated the operation of factors constraining the cova values in males, and further possible reasons for the appearance of so many positive values are explored. A matrix analysis showed that the genetic variance/covariance matrices of the two sexes were significantly different from each other. Breeding values derived from sons plotted on breeding values from daughters had correlation coefficients significantly less than +1. This finding indicated that a substantial amount of sex-dependent gene expression was occurring.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:70658
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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