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Latitudinal variation in thermal reaction norms of post‐winter pupal development in two butterflies differing in phenological specialization

Posledovich, Diana, Toftegaard, Tenna, Navarro‐Cano, Jose A., Wiklund, Christer, Ehrlén, Johan, Gotthard, Karl
Biological journal of the Linnean Society 2014 v.113 no.4 pp. 981-991
Pieris napi, butterflies, flowers, genotype, host plants, latitude, leaves, pods, pupae, pupal development, temperature, univoltine habit
Latitudinal clines in thermal reaction norms of development are a common phenomenon in temperate insects. Populations from higher latitudes often develop faster throughout the range of relevant temperatures (i.e countergradient variation) because they must be able to complete their life cycle within a shorter seasonal time window compared to populations at lower latitudes. In the present study, we experimentally demonstrate that two species of butterflies Anthocharis cardamines (L.) and Pieris napi (L.) instead show a cogradient variation in thermal reaction norms of post‐winter pupal development so that lower latitude populations develop faster than higher latitude populations. The two species share host plants but differ in the degree of phenological specialization, as well as in the patterns of voltinism. We suggest that the pattern in A. cardamines, a univoltine phenological specialist feeding exclusively on flowers and seedpods, is the result of selection for matching to the phenological pattern of its local host plants. The other species, P. napi, is a phenological generalist feeding on the leaves of the hosts and it shows a latitudinal cline in voltinism. Because the latitudinal pattern in P. napi was an effect of slow development in a fraction of the pupae from the most northern population, we hypothesize that this population may include both bivoltine and univoltine genotypes. Consequently, although the two species both showed cogradient patterns in thermal reaction norms, it appears likely that this was for different reasons.