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Restricted male winter moth dispersal among host trees



Restricted male winter moth dispersal among host trees



Acta Oecologica 17(4): 319-329



Local adaptation of insect herbivores to individual variation of host plant characteristics (i.e. deme formation) may be counteracted by gene flow among those hosts. The winter moth lives on oak trees which budburst dates vary considerably among individuals. Winter moth egg hatch shows a synchronization with individual oak budburst, which is partially promoted by the female's brachyptery and thus low dispersal. Males are, however, winged and capable of flying to other trees. The mark-relocation experiments reported in this paper show that mates also exhibit very limited dispersal, possibly increasing egg hatch synchronization and expected fitness. The potential importance of the wings for males is discussed.

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