Defense against predators incurs high reproductive costs for the aposematic moth Arctia plantaginis
Lindstedt, C., Suisto, K., Burdfield-Steel, E., Winters, A. E., & Mappes, J. (2020). Defense against predators incurs high reproductive costs for the aposematic moth Arctia plantaginis. Behavioral Ecology, 31(3), 844-850. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/araa033
Published inBehavioral Ecology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaEvoluutiotutkimus (huippuyksikkö)Biologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Evolutionary ResearchCentre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology.
To understand how variation in warning displays evolves and is maintained, we need to understand not only how perceivers of these traits select color and toxicity but also the sources of the genetic and phenotypic variation exposed to selection by them. We studied these aspects in the wood tiger moth Arctia plantaginis, which has two locally co-occurring male color morphs in Europe: yellow and white. When threatened, both morphs produce defensive secretions from their abdomen and from thoracic glands. Abdominal fluid has shown to be more important against invertebrate predators than avian predators, and the defensive secretion of the yellow morph is more effective against ants. Here, we focused on the morph-linked reproductive costs of secretion of the abdominal fluid and quantified the proportion of phenotypic and genetic variation in it. We hypothesized that, if yellow males pay higher reproductive costs for their more effective aposematic display, the subsequent higher mating success of white males could offer one explanation for the maintenance of the polymorphism. We first found that the heritable variation in the quantity of abdominal secretion was very low (h2 = 0.006) and the quantity of defensive secretion was not dependent on the male morph. Second, deploying the abdominal defensive secretion decreased the reproductive output of both color morphs equally. This suggests that potential costs of pigment production and chemical defense against invertebrates are not linked in A. plantaginis. Furthermore, our results indicate that environmentally induced variation in chemical defense can alter an individual’s fitness significantly. ...
PublisherOxford University Press
Dataset(s) related to the publicationhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q573n5tfk
Publication in research information system
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Related funder(s)Research Council of Finland
Funding program(s)Postdoctoral Researcher, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis study was funded by the Academy of Finland via Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions grant (no 252411) and individual grants (no 136387, 257581) for C.L.
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