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Body size response to warming: time of the season matters in a tephritid fly
- Xi, Xinqiang, Wu, Xinwei, Nylin, Sören, Sun, Shucun
- Oikos 2016 v.125 no.3 pp. 386-394
- Tephritis, adults, alpine meadows, animals, body size, field experimentation, global warming, growing season, insects, multivoltine habit, photoperiod, prediction, seasonal variation, temperature
- Whether shrinking body size is a universal response to climate change remains controversial. Moreover, the mechanisms underlying body size shifts are poorly understood. Here, assuming that life history traits evolve to maximize fitness according to life history plasticity theory, we hypothesized that under global warming temperate multivoltine insects should emerge earlier with a smaller body mass in the early growing season, but emerge later with a larger body mass in the late season. We tested this hypothesis by conducting two field artificial warming experiments in an alpine meadow: 1) with one pre‐dispersal seed predator species (tephritid flies, Tephritis femoralis) and its two host‐plant species flowering in early and late growing seasons, respectively, and 2) with the tephritid flies and one host species with a flowering season that occupies parts of both the early and late growing seasons. These experiments were complemented by a microcosm chamber warming experiment, in which increasing and decreasing temperature trends were set to simulate temperature variation pattern in early and late growing seasons, respectively, but photoperiod was held constant. Warming generally advanced the adult emergence and decreased the body size (adult body mass) in the early season but delayed the emergence and increased the size in the late season in both field experiments, indicating that the seasonally different effects of warming on the fly body size was constant regardless of host‐plant identity. The chamber warming resulted in consistent responses of emerging timing and body size to the simulated seasonal warming, demonstrating that the temperature increase per se and its interaction with direction of temperature change, but not other correlated effects, should be primarily responsible for the observed contrasting shifts of body size at different times of the season. Our results indicate that taking into account temperate seasonal patterns of temperature variation could be of general importance for predicting animal body size changes in the warmed future.