Adaptation in the Asexual False Spider Mite Brevipalpus phoenicis: Evidence for Frozen Niche Variation Article Received: 15 November 2004 Accepted: 04 March 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Groot, T., Janssen, A., Pallini, A. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2005) 36: 165. doi:10.1007/s10493-005-3360-6 Abstract
Because asexual species lack recombination, they have little opportunity to produce genetically variable offspring and cannot adapt to changes in their environment. However, a number of asexual species are very successful and appear to contradict this general view. One such species is the phytophagous mite
Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes), a species that is found in a wide range of environments. There are two general explanations for this pattern, the General Purpose Genotype (GPG) and Frozen Niche Variation (FNV). According to the GPG model, an asexual species consists of clones that can all survive and reproduce in all the different niches. Alternatively, the FNV model postulates that different clones are specialized to different niches. We have performed a test to distinguish between these models in B. phoenicis. Mites from three populations from three different host plant species (citrus, hibiscus and acerola) were transplanted to their own and the two alternative host plants and mite survival and egg production were measured. Additionally, the mite populations were genotyped using microsatellites. Fitness was seriously reduced when mites were transplanted to the alternative host plant species, except when the alternative host was acerola. 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