Juvenile hormone as a mediator of plasticity in insect life histories

Authors

  • Hugh Dingle,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Entomology and Center for Population Biology, University of California-Davis, California
    • Department of Entomology and Center for Population Biology, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616
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  • Ruth Winchell

    1. Department of Entomology and Center for Population Biology, University of California-Davis, California
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Abstract

Insects display much variation in life histories mediated by juvenile hormone. We focus on the contribution of JH to variations in migratory life histories. In many migrants such as the large milkweed bug and the monarch butterfly, JH directly influences migratory flight and the relation between flight and reproduction (oogenesis-flight syndrome). In the true armyworm, JH regulates interactions among female calling, pheromone production, ovarian development, and migration with varying blends of structurally related forms of JH and JH acid. A role for JH also occurs in wing polymorphisms. Aphids regulate wing production via JH-mediated maternal effects; and in crickets, JH esterase modulates the JH influence on wing form. In addition, JH is implicated in wing muscle histolysis. The comprehensive Fairbairn model for JH regulation of wing polymorphisms in flight behavior predicts that JH action will depend on the mode of genetic control, whether single locus or polygenic. Our own studies of the soapberry bug, Jadera haematoloma, reveal a four-morph wing polymorphism in a species rapidly evolving on a new host plant. There are long- and short-winged forms, and the long-winged form displays three degrees of flight muscle histolysis. The polymorphism is subject to both genetic and environmental variations that are mediated by JH. Application of methoprene increases the frequency of the short-winged forms, but there is both within- and between-population genetic variation and genotype by environment interaction (plasticity) in the response to JH. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 35:359–373, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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