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Phenotypic plasticity in butterfly morphology in response to weather conditions during development

Gibbs, M.; Wiklund, C.; Van Dyck, H.. 2011 Phenotypic plasticity in butterfly morphology in response to weather conditions during development. Journal of Zoology, 283 (3). 162-168. 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2010.00756.x

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Abstract/Summary

In seasonal environments, phenotypic plasticity in response to gradual changes in environmental variables may result in the production of discrete seasonal morphs. Production of the appropriate seasonal morph at the correct time relies on individuals interpreting environmental cues during their development. The speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria (L.) has previously been shown to have developmental and phenotypic plasticity across seasons and space (habitats). Here, we examine the developmental sensitivity of different seasonal cohorts of female P. aegeria to changes in local weather conditions over time (1989–1999) and determine how such temporal climatic variation affects adult phenotype development. We observed trait- and cohort-specific changes of adult phenotype development in response to local temporal changes in temperature and rainfall levels. We discuss our findings using current life-history theory and consider the potential for changes in local weather conditions to influence population variability in butterfly morphology and performance.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2010.00756.x
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Hails
ISSN: 0952-8369
Additional Keywords: adult phenotype, development, environment, flight morphology, Pararge aegeria, plasticity, seasonal variation, weather
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 14 Mar 2011 14:35
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/13642

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