Oviposition preference and larval performance within a diverging lineage of lycaenid butterflies
Article first published online: 25 MAY 2004
Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 264–272, June 2004
How to Cite
Forister, M. L. (2004), Oviposition preference and larval performance within a diverging lineage of lycaenid butterflies. Ecological Entomology, 29: 264–272. doi: 10.1111/j.0307-6946.2004.00596.x
- Issue published online: 25 MAY 2004
- Article first published online: 25 MAY 2004
- Accepted 14 November 2003
- Ecological speciation;
- sympatric speciation
Abstract. 1. The butterfly genus Mitoura in Northern California includes three nominal species associated with four host plants having parapatric or interdigitated ranges. Genetic analyses have shown the taxa to be very closely related, and adults from all host backgrounds will mate and produce viable offspring in the laboratory. Oviposition preference and larval performance were investigated with the aim of testing the hypothesis that variation in these traits can exist in a system in which non-ecological barriers to gene flow (i.e. geographic barriers and genetic incompatibilities) appear to be minimal.
2. Females were sampled from 12 locations throughout Northern California, including sympatric and parapatric populations associated with the four different host-plant species. Oviposition preference was assayed by confining wild-caught females with branches of all four host species and counting the number of eggs laid on each. Offspring were reared on the same host species and two measures of larval success were taken: per cent survival and pupal weight.
3. For populations associated with one of the hosts, incense cedar, the preference–performance relationship is simple: the host that females chose is the plant which results in the highest pupal weights for offspring. The preference–performance relationship for populations associated with the other hosts is more complex and may reflect different levels of local adaptation. The variation in preference and performance reported here suggests that these traits can evolve when non-ecological barriers to gene flow are low, and that differences in these traits may be important for the evolution of reproductive isolation within Mitoura.