Patterns of phenotypic plasticity in common and rare environments: a study of host use and color learning in the cabbage white butterfly vieris rapae

Emilie C. Snell-Rood, Daniel R. Papaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phenotypic Plasticity is Adaptive in Variable Environments But, Given Its Costs, May be Disfavored if only One Environ. is Commonly Encountered. Yet Species in Relatively Constant Environments Often Adjust Phenotypes Successfully in Rare or Novel Environments. Devmtl. Biases May Reduce the Costs of Plasticity in Com. Environments, Favoring the Maintenance of Plasticity. We Explored This Proposition by Studying the Flexibility of Visually Guided Host-Sel. Behav. in Cabbage White Butterflies (Vieris Rapae), Wherein Com. and Rare Environments Consisted of Gn. and Red Host Types, Respectively. We Demonstrated in Greenhouse Assays That Adult Females Display an Innate Bias Toward Gn. Color during Host Search but Alter That Bias Through Lrng. in Red-host Assemblages Such That, after Several Hours of Experience, Red Hosts Are Located as Efficiently as Gn. Hosts. Full-sib Analyses Suggested There Was Genetic Variation in Host and Color Choice That Was More Pronounced in the Red-host Environ.. We Found no Evidence of Genetic Correlations in Behav. Across Host Environments or of Fitness Costs of Plasticity in Color Choice. Our Results Support the Idea That Lrng. May Persist in Less Variable Environments Through the Evol. of Innate Biases That Reduce Operating Costs in Com. Environments. 2009 by the Univ. of Chicago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-631
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume173
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

Keywords

  • Host use
  • Learning
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Variable environment
  • Vieris rapae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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