Local adaptation: simultaneously considering herbivores and their host plants
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- •Although a major expectation of coevolutionary theory between plants and herbivores is the occurrence of reciprocal local adaptation, this has remained almost untested. Thus, we evaluated the presence and variation in the patterns of reciprocal local adaptation between an herbivorous insect and its host plant.
- •Two four-by-four cross-infestation experiments were performed under similar abiotic conditions. The first one was done under laboratory conditions to estimate herbivore individual performance while the second one was performed in a common garden to simultaneously estimate herbivore population growth rate as well as seed production and plant defenses (resistance and tolerance to herbivory).
- •The patterns of population differentiation for the herbivore and the plant were not independent of each other, showing all the possible outcomes from locally adapted to maladapted populations. These results indicate differences in the magnitude of local adaptation. While an association between resistance and herbivore performance was observed, there was no clear pattern between tolerance and herbivore local adaptation.
- •Our results demonstrated the occurrence of reciprocal local adaptation following the pattern expected by theory: when the herbivores or the plants were adapted, the other species was non-adapted or even maladapted.