, Volume 99, Issue 3–4, pp 329–336 | Cite as

Host-associated fitness variation in a seed beetle (Coleoptera: Bruchidae): evidence for local adaptation to a poor quality host

  • Charles W. Fox
  • Kim J. Waddell
  • Timothy A. Mousseau
Original Paper


The geographic distributions of many generalist herbivores differ from those of their host plants, such that they experience coarse-grained spatial variation in natural selection on characters influencing adaptation to host plants. Thus, populations differing in host use are expected to differ in their ability to survive and grow on these host plants. We examine host-associated variation in larval performance (survivorship, development time, and adult body weight) and oviposition preference, within and between two populations ofStator limbatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) that differ in the hosts available to them in nature. In one population,Acacia greggii (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) andCercidium microphyllum (Fabaceae: Caesalpininoideae) are each abundant, while in the second population onlyC. floridum andC. microphyllum are present. In both populations, egg-to-adult survivorship was less than 50% onC. floridum, while survivorship was greater than 90% onA. greggii. Most of the mortality onC. floridum occurred as larvae were burrowing through the seed coat; very low mortality occurred during penetration of the seed coat ofA. greggii. Significant variation was present between populations, and among families (within populations), in survivorship and egg-to-adult development time onC. floridum; beetles restricted toCercidium in nature, without access toC. floridum, survived better and developed faster onC. floridum than beetles that had access toA. greggii. Large host effects on body size were detected for female offspring: females reared onA. greggii were larger than those reared onC. floridum, whereas male offspring wee approximately the same size regardless of rearing host. Trade-offs between performance onC. floridum andC. floridum were not detected in this experiment. Instead, our data indicate that development time and survivorship onC. floridum may be largely independent of development time and survivorship onA. greggii. Patterns of oviposition preference corresponded to the observed patterns of host suitability: in laboratory preference tests, beetles with access toA. greggii in nature tended to prefer this host more than beetles without access to this host in nature.

Key words

Geographic variation Genotypeenvironment interactions Host range Oviposition preference Stator limbatus 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Fox
    • 1
  • Kim J. Waddell
    • 1
  • Timothy A. Mousseau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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