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Are polyphagous geometrid moths with flightless females adapted to budburst phenology of local host species?

Tikkanen, O. -P., Woodcock, B. A., Watt, A. D. and Lock, K. A. (2006) Are polyphagous geometrid moths with flightless females adapted to budburst phenology of local host species? Oikos, 112. pp. 83-90. ISSN 0030-1299

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2006.13855.x


The majority of studies demonstrating local adaptation of insect herbivores involve sessile species, particularly those with a parthenogentic phase to their life history or endophagous "parasites" of plants. Current arguments suggest the strength of selection determines whether local adaptation can or cannot take place. Therefore local adaptation should not be limited to species with such traits. We studied the ability of three polyphagous geometrid moths with flightless adult females (Erannisdefoliaria, Operophtera brumata and O. fagata) to synchronise their egg hatching with the budburst of a local host species in north east Scotland. A strong selection for hatching time is expected among generalist moths given the large variation in budburst phenology and an inability to hatch in synchrony with budburst decreases moth fitness substantially. In two successive seasons, we trapped emerging females from patches of five host species and recorded the temperature sum needed for 50% egg hatch of each brood laid by the trapped females. The hatching times of broods were compared against the average budburst time of the maternal host species in the study area. In addition, the trapping dates of each female were recorded. Only O. brumata showed synchrony with egg hatch and budburst which suggests local phenological adaptation to different host species. This could be maintained by selection and partial reproductive isolation between populations dwelling on different host species. No phenological adaptation was found in the other common geometrids of the study area

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:9283

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