Recessive Melanism in the Moth Lasiocampa quercus L. in Industrial and Non-Industrial Areas

  • H. B. D. Kettlewell
  • C. J. Cadbury
  • D. R. Lees


The Oak Eggar Moth, Lasiocampa quercus, Lasiocampidae, was selected for a special study in the field of ecological genetics because melanism in this species exhibits several unusual features. First, melanic polymorphisms were maintained among imagines in several populations which appeared to be isolated from one another. They exist both in regions influenced by industrial pollution and in others which are essentially unpolluted.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bell W. (1909) Parallel variation in larvae and imagines of Lasiocampa quercus. Ent. Rec. 21, 45.Google Scholar
  2. Cadbury C. J. (1969) Melanism in moths with special reference to selective predation by birds. D. Phil, thesis, Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Clarke C. A. & Sheppard P. M. (1966) A local survey of the distribution of industrial melanic forms of the moth Biston betularia and estimates of the selective value of these in an industrial environment. Proc. R. Soc. B 165, 424–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cockayne E. A. (1927–8) Annual Address-Larval variation. Proc. R. ent. Soc. Lond. 7, 51–52.Google Scholar
  5. Cockayne H. A. (1949) Leonard Woods Newman. Ent. Rec. 61, 80–81.Google Scholar
  6. Cockayne E. A. (1951) Aberrations of British Macrolepidoptera. Entomologist 84, 241–245.Google Scholar
  7. Cockayne E. A. (1953) The problem of Lasiocampa quer eus Linnaeus ab. olivaceofasciata Cockerell ab. olivacea Tutt and melanic larvae. Ent. Rec. 64, 306–309.Google Scholar
  8. Cockerell T.D.A. (1889) On the variation of insects. Entomologist 22, 1–6.Google Scholar
  9. Dowdeswellc W.H., Fisher R.A. & Ford E.B. (1940) The quantitative study of populations of the Lepidoptera. Ann. Eugen. Lond. 10, 123–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ford E.B. (1937) Problems of heredity in the Lepidoptera. Biol. Rev. 12, 461–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ford E.B. (1940) Genetic Research in Lepidoptera. Ann. Eugen. Lond. 10, 227–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ford E.B. (1955a) Polymorphism and taxonomy. Heredity 9, 255–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ford E.B. (1955b) Moths. Collins, London.Google Scholar
  14. Frings C. (1905) Las. quer eus L. ab. nov. paradoxa Frgs. Soc. ent. 20, 89–90.Google Scholar
  15. Gordon Smith S. (1954) Experiments with a strain of Lasiocampa quer eus ab, olivaceo-fasciata Cockerell with descriptions of two new aberrations. Entomologist 87, 225–228.Google Scholar
  16. Gordon Smith S. (1956) Experiments with a strain of Lasiocampa quercus ab. olivaceo-fasciata. Cockerell from Cheshire and Lasiocampa quercus race callunae. Palmer from Yorkshire. (Lep. Lasiocampidae). Entomologist 89, 137–138.Google Scholar
  17. Harrison J.W.H. (1932) The recent development of melanism in the larvae of certain species of Lepidoptera, with an account of its inheritance in Selenia bilunaria Esp. Proc. R. Soc. B in, 188-200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hewson F. (1953) ‘Black’ larvae of Lasiocampa quercus L. in Yorkshire. Ent. Rec. 65, 1–2.Google Scholar
  19. Hoffmeyer S. (1960) De Danska Spindera. Universitets forlaget. Aarhus.Google Scholar
  20. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1956) Further selection experiments on industrial melanism in Lepidoptera. Heredity 10, 323–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1957) Industrial melanism in the Lepidoptera and its contribution to our knowledge of evolution. Proc. R. Instn. Gt. Br. 36, 1–14.Google Scholar
  22. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1958) A survey of the frequencies of Biston betularia (L.) (Lep.) and its melanic forms in Great Britain. Heredity, 12, 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1959) New aspects of the genetic control of industrial melanism in the Lepidoptera. Nature 183, 918–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1961a) The phenomenon of industrial melanismin Lepidoptera. Ann. Rev. Ent. 6, 245–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1961b) Geographical melanism in the Lepidoptera of Shetland. Heredity 16, 393–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1961c) Selection experiments in Amathes glareosa Esp. (Lepidoptera). Heredity 16, 415–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1965a) Insect survival and selection for pattern. Science 148, 1290–1296.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kettlewell H. B. D. (1965b) A 12 year survey of the frequencies of Bistort betularia L. (Lep.) and its melanic forms in Great Britain. Ent. Rec. 77, 195–218.Google Scholar
  29. Kettlewell H. B. D. & Berry R.J. Gene flow in a cline. Heredity 24, 1–14.Google Scholar
  30. Kettlewell H.B.D., Berry R. J., Cadbury G. J. & Phillips G.G. (1969) Differences in behaviour, dominance and survival within a cline. Heredity 24, 15–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Kettlewell H. B. D. & Cadbury C.J. (1963) Investigations on the origins of nonindustrial melanism. Ent. Rec. 75, 149–160.Google Scholar
  32. Lempke B.J. (1951) A contribution to the genetics of Lasiocampa quercus L. Ent. Rec. 63, 200–203.Google Scholar
  33. Lempke B.J. (1960) Catalogus der Nederlanse Macrolepidoptera. Tisdschr. Ent. 103, 145–215.Google Scholar
  34. Lusis J.J. (1961) On the biological meaning of colour polymorphism of Lady-beetle Adalia bipunctata. Latvijas Entomologs 4, 3–29.Google Scholar
  35. Mansbridge W. (1893) Melanism in Yorkshire Lepidoptera. Ent. Rec. 4, 110–111.Google Scholar
  36. Niepelt W. (1911) Zur Biologie von Lasiocampa quercus ab olivaceo-fasciata Cock. Int. ent. Seit. 23, 185.Google Scholar
  37. Parslow J.L.F. (1967) Changes in status among breeding birds in Britain and Ireland (part 3). Br. Birds 60, 177–202.Google Scholar
  38. Pierce F.N. (1894) Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society. Entomologist 27, 359.Google Scholar
  39. Porritt G.T. (1906) Melanism in Yorkshire Lepidoptera. Rep. Br. Ass. Advmt Sci. 316-325.Google Scholar
  40. Sparck R. (1950) Food of the north European gulls. Proc. X International Ornithological Congress, pp. 588-591.Google Scholar
  41. Tutt J.W. (1902) The natural history of the British Lepidoptera. Vol. 3. Swann Sonnenschein, London.Google Scholar
  42. Walther H. (1927) Veber Melanismus, Dt. ent. Z. Iris (Dresden) 41, 32–49.Google Scholar
  43. Williams H.B. (1949) Melanic Boarmia repandata at Rannoch, Perthshire. Ent. Rec. 61, 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Blackwell Scientific Publications 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. B. D. Kettlewell
  • C. J. Cadbury
  • D. R. Lees

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations