Local adaptation and host race formation of a gall-forming aphid in relation to environmental heterogeneity

Akimoto, S.

Oecologia 83(2): 162-170


ISSN/ISBN: 0029-8549
PMID: 22160106
DOI: 10.1007/bf00317747
Accession: 002152129

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The process of host race formation in the aphid Tetraneura yezoensis is examined in relation to its population structure. T. yezoensis induces pouch galls on new leaves of Ulmus davidiana and U. laciniata. Its populations on the two host species are often sympatric. Fundatrices found on one elm species, when reciprocally transplanted to the other, suffered greatly reduced average fitness. This shows that aphid populations associated with the two elm species are genetically differentiated in physiological traits. Individual trees of each elm species showed large differences in susceptibility to gall formation and in bud burst time, and such between-tree variations were consistent over years. Overwintered eggs taken in early spring from four trees (two from each species) were incubated under the same temperature conditions. The average hatching time differed significantly even between populations from conspecific trees, and the sequence of egg hatching paralleled that of the leafing of those four trees. This between-tree difference in hatching time was consistent over years and was found to be genetic, showing that gene flow between aphid populations on separate trees is often restricted. The heterogeneity in host traits may have promoted the evolution of philopatry in this aphid. Of the fundatrices that hatched on a tree of one elm species, a few precent were preadapted to gall formation on the other elm species. This suggests that the formation of a new host race proceeds parapatrically under disruptive selection and at a low level of gene flow. Evidence was actually obtained that a small fraction of Tetraneura alates are passively transported and land on non-host plants.

Local adaptation and host race formation of a gall-forming aphid in relation to environmental heterogeneity