Seed beetle survivorship, growth and egg size plasticity in a paloverde hybrid zone

Charles W. Fox, Kim J. Waddell, James Des Lauriers, Timothy A. Mousseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

1. Although numerous studies have examined the ecology of plant resistance to herbivores and the distribution of herbivores within plant hybrid zones, few have examined how plant hybridization influences herbivore growth, development, or life history. The experiment reported here examines variation in survivorship, development time, and final adult body size of Stator limbatus reared on seeds of parental and hybrid Cercidium floridum-X-C. microphyllum trees from a paloverde hybrid zone in eastern California. Because S. limbatus exhibits egg size plasticity in response to host species, the size of eggs that females lay on hybrid and parental plants is also examined. 2. The hypotheses (a) that seeds of hybrid trees are intermediate between those of the two parental species in their resistance to penetration by S. limbatus larvae; (b) that seeds of hybrid trees are intermediate in their suitability for the growth of larvae that successfully penetrate the seed-coat; (e) that female S. limbatus can distinguish between hybrid trees and pure-bred trees, as quantified by the size of eggs they lay on seeds of each taxon, and (d) that female S. limbatus can distinguish among individual hybrid trees, are tested. 3. On average, S. limbatus survivorship was lower, development time longer, and emergence body mass lower on seeds of C. floridum than on seeds of C. microphyllum. Seeds of hybrid trees were, on average (across trees), intermediate between seeds of the parental species in the resistance of their seed-coats to penetration by S. limbatus larvae and in their suitability for larval growth. Individual hybrid trees also varied in the resistance of their seeds to, and the suitability of their seeds for, S. limbatus larvae. 4. Female S. limbatus laid significantly larger eggs on seeds of C. floridum than on seeds of C. microphyllum, and, on average, intermediate size eggs on hybrid trees. The size of eggs laid by females also varied among hybrid trees, with females laying C. floridum-sized eggs on some trees, and C. microphyllum-sized eggs on other trees. These results suggest that females have at least some ability to distinguish among hybrid trees, but there was no evidence that females laid larger eggs on poorer quality hybrid trees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Entomology
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1997

Keywords

  • Cercidium
  • Egg size
  • Paloverde
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Stator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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