University of Oulu

Kivelä, S., Gotthard, K., Lehmann, P. (2019) Developmental plasticity in metabolism but not in energy reserve accumulation in a seasonally polyphenic butterfly. Journal of experimental biology, 222 (13), jeb202150. doi:10.1242/jeb.202150

Developmental plasticity in metabolism but not in energy reserve accumulation in a seasonally polyphenic butterfly

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Author: Kivelä, Sami M.1,2; Gotthard, Karl3; Lehmann, Philipp3
Organizations: 1Department of Zoology, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Vanemuise 46, EE-51014 Tartu, Estonia
2Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
3Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Company of Biologists, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-07-05


The evolution of seasonal polyphenisms (discrete phenotypes in different annual generations) associated with alternative developmental pathways of diapause (overwintering) and direct development is favoured in temperate insects. Seasonal life history polyphenisms are common and include faster growth and development under direct development than in diapause. However, the physiological underpinnings of this difference remain poorly known despite its significance for understanding the evolution of polyphenisms. We measured respiration and metabolic rates through the penultimate and final larval instars in the butterfly Pieris napi and show that directly developing larvae grew and developed faster and had a higher metabolic rate than larvae entering pupal diapause. The metabolic divergence appeared only in the final instar, that is, after induction of the developmental pathway that takes place in the penultimate instar in P. napi. The accumulation of fat reserves during the final larval instar was similar under diapause and direct development, which was unexpected as diapause is predicted to select for exaggerated reserve accumulation. This suggests that overwinter survival in diapause does not require larger energy reserves than direct development, likely because of metabolic suppression in diapause pupae. The results, nevertheless, demonstrate that physiological changes coincide with the divergence of life histories between the alternative developmental pathways, thus elucidating the proximate basis of seasonal life history polyphenisms.

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Series: Journal of experimental biology
ISSN: 0022-0949
ISSN-E: 1477-9145
ISSN-L: 0022-0949
Volume: 222
Issue: 13
Article number: jeb202150
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.202150
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was financed by the international fellowship program at Stockholm University (Stockholms Universitet, to S.M.K.), the Estonian Research Council (Eesti Teadusagentuur, grant PUT1474 to S.M.K.), Academy of Finland, Research Council for Biosciences and Environment (Biotieteiden ja Ympäristön Tutkimuksen Toimikunta, grants 314833 and 319898 to S.M.K.), the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse, grant 2012.0058 to K.G.) and the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University (to K.G.).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 314833
Detailed Information: 314833 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
319898 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.