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A novel trade-off of insect diapause affecting a sequestered chemical defense
- Fordyce, James A., Nice, Chris C., Shapiro, Arthur M.
- Oecologia 2006 v.149 no.1 pp. 101-106
- Battus philenor, butterflies, diapause, fecundity, food defense, foods, host plants, larvae, pupae
- Diapause allows insects to temporally avoid conditions that are unfavorable for development and reproduction. However, diapause may incur a cost in the form of reduced metabolic energy reserves, reduced potential fecundity, and missed reproductive opportunities. This study investigated a hitherto ignored consequence of diapause: trade-offs involving sequestered chemical defense. We examined the aristolochic acid defenses of diapausing and non-diapausing pipevine swallowtail butterflies, Battus philenor. Pipevine swallowtail larvae acquire these chemical defenses from their host plants. Butterflies that emerge following pupal diapause have significantly less fat, a female fitness correlate, compared to those that do not diapause. However, butterflies emerging from diapaused pupae are more chemically defended compared to those that have not undergone diapause. Furthermore, non-diapausing butterflies are confronted with older, lower quality host plants on which to oviposit. Thus, a trade-off exists where butterflies may have greater energy reserves at the cost of less chemical defense and sub-optimal food resources for their larvae, or have substantially less energetic reserves with the benefit of greater chemical defense and plentiful larval food resources.