Viral exposure effects on life-history, flight-related traits, and wing melanisation in the Glanville fritillary butterfly

Woestmann, Luisa; Gibbs, Melanie; Hesketh, Helen; Saastamoinen, Marjo. 2018 Viral exposure effects on life-history, flight-related traits, and wing melanisation in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Journal of Insect Physiology, 107. 136-143.

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Infections represent a constant threat for organisms and can lead to substantial fitness losses. Understanding how individuals, especially from natural populations, respond towards infections is thus of great importance. Little is known about immunity in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). As the larvae live gregariously in family groups, vertical and horizontal transmission of infections could have tremendous effects on individuals and consequently impact population dynamics in nature. We used the Alphabaculovirus type strain Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and demonstrated that positive concentration-dependent baculovirus exposure leads to prolonged developmental time and decreased survival during larval and pupal development, with no sex specific differences. Viral exposure did not influence relative thorax mass or wing morphometric traits often related to flight ability, yet melanisation of the wings increased with viral exposure, potentially influencing disease resistance or flight capacity via thermal regulation. Further research is needed to explore effects under sub-optimal conditions, determine effects on fitness-related traits, and investigate a potential adaptive response of increased melanisation in the wings due to baculovirus exposure.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0022-1910
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: Baculovirus, flight, immune response, melanisation, Melitaea cinxia
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 11 Apr 2018 13:42 +0 (UTC)

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