Hybrid vigor in the biological control agent, Longitarsus jacobaeae
Article first published online: 4 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Special Issue: Evolution and Biological Control
Volume 5, Issue 5, pages 489–497, July 2012
How to Cite
Szűcs, M., Eigenbrode, S. D., Schwarzländer, M. and Schaffner, U. (2012), Hybrid vigor in the biological control agent, Longitarsus jacobaeae. Evolutionary Applications, 5: 489–497. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2012.00268.x
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 4 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 APR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 13 MAR 2012
- Palouse Cooperative Weed Management Area
- U.S. Forest Service Clearwater National Forest
- The Potlatch Corporation
- University of Idaho's Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences
- classical biological control;
- contemporary evolution;
- intraspecific hybridization;
- invasion biology
Hybridization is an important evolutionary mechanism that can increase the fitness and adaptive potential of populations. A growing body of evidence supports its importance as a key factor contributing to rapid evolution in invasive species, but the effects of hybridization have rarely been assessed in intentionally introduced biological control agents. We investigated hybrids between a Swiss and an Italian population of the beetle, Longitarsus jacobaeae, a biological control agent of Jacobaea vulgaris, by reciprocally crossing individuals in the laboratory. Phenological traits of F1 and F2 hybrid lineages showed intermediate values relative to their parental populations, with some maternal influence. Fitness of the F2 generation, measured as lifetime fecundity, was higher than that of the Italian parent in one of the lineages and higher than that of either parent in the other hybrid lineage. The increased fecundity of hybrids may benefit tansy ragwort biological control by increasing the establishment success and facilitating a more rapid population buildup in the early generations. Even though the long-term consequences of hybridization in this and other systems are hard to predict, intentional hybridization may be a useful tool in biological control strategies as it would promote similar microevolutionary processes operating in numerous targeted invasive species.