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Temperature‐induced developmental plasticity in Plodia interpunctella: Reproductive behaviour and sperm length

Iossa, Graziella, Maury, Chloris, Fletcher, Rachel M., Eady, Paul E.
Journal of evolutionary biology 2019 v.32 no.7 pp. 675-682
Plodia interpunctella, animals, climate change, cold, copulation, evolution, gametogenesis, genetic variation, heat stress, males, phenotype, phenotypic plasticity, plants (botany), rearing, reproductive behavior, spermatozoa, temperature
In both plants and animals, male gametogenesis is particularly sensitive to heat stress, to the extent that a single hot or cold day can compromise crop productivity or population persistence. In animals, heat stress during development can impact a male's ability to secure copulations and/or his post‐copulatory fertility. Despite such observations, relatively few studies have examined the consequences of developmental temperature on the reproductive behaviour and physiology of individuals. Here, we report for the first time the effects of developmental temperature on the phenotypic expression of both apyrene and eupyrene sperm and the copulatory behaviour of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella. We show that the length of both apyrene and eupyrene sperm decreases with increasing developmental temperature and that males are less likely to engage in copulation when reared at the highest and lowest temperatures. Where copulation occurred, the duration of copula decreased as male developmental temperature increased. We argue that identification of the mechanisms and consequences of reproductive failure in animals facing heat stress will help understand how wild and domesticated populations will respond to global climate change. We also contend that such studies will help elucidate long‐standing evolutionary questions around the maintenance of genetic variation in traits highly relevant to fitness and the role of phenotypic plasticity in driving the evolution of novel traits.