Differences in morphology and reproductive traits of Galerucella nymphaeae from four host plant species

Authors

  • Stephanie M. Pappers,

    1. Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, NL-6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Harm van Dommelen,

    1. Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, NL-6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Gerard van der Velde,

    1. Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, NL-6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • N. Joop Ouborg

    1. Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, NL-6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

The water lily beetle Galerucella nymphaeae L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) exploits different hosts, including Nuphar lutea Sm. and Nymphaea alba L. (both Nymphaeaceae), as well as Polygonum amphibium L. and Rumex hydrolapathum Hudson (both Polygonaceae). The present study investigates whether within-species differences in morphological and reproductive traits are associated with differences in host species exploitation. A total of 1103 adult beetles were collected from 11 localities in The Netherlands, one of which contained all four hosts and three other localities contained hosts from both families (sympatric localities). Adults originating from Nuphar and Nymphaea were on average darker in colour and larger in size and had disproportionally bigger mandibles than beetles originating from Polygonum and Rumex across the 11 localities. Head capsules of first instar larvae from Nymphaeaceae hosts were between 17% and 28% larger than those of larvae from Polygonaceae hosts. Furthermore, beetles from Nuphar and Nymphaea laid larger sized eggs, but fewer eggs per clutch than beetles originating from Polygonum and Rumex. Although host related variation was less pronounced at the sympatric localities than in the allopatric localities, differences in larval and adult size were still highly significant at the sympatric localities. It is not clear whether the observed differences are genetically based, as opposed to host induced. However, leaf toughness varied among species in a way suggesting that leaf toughness may be partly responsible for host related differences in G. nymphaeae.

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