Title
Environmental stress and quantitative genetic variation in butterfly wing characteristics Environmental stress and quantitative genetic variation in butterfly wing characteristics
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Evolutionary ecology. - London
Volume/pages
23(2009) :3 , p. 473-485
ISSN
0269-7653
ISI
000265788600012
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Butterfly wing characteristics are extensively used as model system in studies of development, quantitative genetics and phenotypic plasticity. In spite of its evolutionary relevance, however, the effect of stress on the expression of genetic variation itself has only rarely been studied. In this paper, we explore genetic variation of wing characteristics of the Speckled wood Pararge aegeria along a host plant drought stress gradient. Forewing area, basal and distal degree of melanization and the area of five yellow wing spots were measured. We found an increase in (additive) genetic variation in degree of melanization at higher drought stress, and a similar, yet non-significant, relationship for forewing size. As a result, both the upper limits of the narrow-sense heritability and the coefficient of additive genetic variation of wing size and melanization increased with drought stress. Patterns for the different yellow wing spots were less consistent, suggesting trait-specificity in the relationships between genetic variation and environmental stress.
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