Genetic architecture of population differences in oviposition behaviour of the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus

C. W. Fox, R. C. Stillwell, A. R. Amarillo-S, M. E. Czesak, F. J. Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the genetic architecture of population differences in behaviour and its implications for population differentiation and adaptation. Even fewer have examined whether differences in genetic architecture depend on the environment in which organisms are reared or tested. We examined the genetic basis of differences in oviposition preference and egg dispersion between Asian (SI) and African (BF) populations of the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus. We reared and tested females on each of two host legumes (cowpea and mung bean). The two populations differed in mean oviposition preference (BF females preferred cowpea seeds more strongly than did SI females) and egg dispersion (SI females distributed eggs more uniformly among seeds than did BF females). Observations of hybrid and backcross individuals indicated that only the population difference in oviposition preference could be explained by complete additivity, whereas substantial dominance and epistasis contributed to the differences in egg dispersion. Both rearing host and test host affected the relative magnitude of population differences in egg dispersion and the composite genetic effects. Our results thus demonstrate that the relative influence of epistasis and dominance on the behaviour of hybrids depends on the behaviour measured and that different aspects of insect oviposition are under different genetic control. In addition, the observed effect of rearing host and oviposition host on the relative importance of dominance and epistasis indicates that the genetic basis of population differences depends on the environment in which genes are expressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1151
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Dominance
  • Egg dispersion
  • Epistasis
  • Host choice
  • Joint scaling
  • Line cross
  • Number of genes
  • Oviposition preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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