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Comparative reproductive dormancy differentiation in European black scavenger flies (Diptera: Sepsidae)


Zeender, Valérian; Roy, Jeannine; Wegmann, Alexandra; Schäfer, Martin A; Gourgoulianni, Natalia; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U; Rohner, Patrick T (2019). Comparative reproductive dormancy differentiation in European black scavenger flies (Diptera: Sepsidae). Oecologia, 189(4):905-917.

Abstract

Seasonality is a key environmental factor that regularly promotes life history adaptation. Insects invading cold–temperate climates need to overwinter in a dormant state. We compared the role of temperature and photoperiod in dormancy induction in the laboratory, as well as winter survival and reproduction in the field and the laboratory, of 5 widespread European dung fly species (Diptera: Sepsidae) to investigate their extent of ecological differentiation and thermal adaptation. Unexpectedly, cold temperature is the primary environmental factor inducing winter dormancy, with short photoperiod playing an additional role mainly in species common at high altitudes and latitudes (Sepsis cynipsea, neocynipsea, fulgens), but not in those species also thriving in southern Europe (thoracica, punctum). All species hibernate as adults rather than juveniles. S. thoracica had very low adult winter survivorship under both (benign) laboratory and (harsh) field conditions, suggesting flexible quiescence rather than genetically fixed winter diapause, restricting their distribution towards the pole. All other species appear well suited for surviving cold, Nordic winters. Females born early in the season reproduce before winter while late-born females reproduce after winter, fulgens transitioning earliest before winter and thoracica and punctum latest; a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction during both seasons occurs rarely but is possible physiologically. Fertility patterns indicate that females can store sperm over winter. Winter dormancy induction mechanisms of European sepsids are congruent with their geographic distribution, co-defining their thermal niches. Flexible adult winter quiescence appears the easiest route for insects spreading towards the poles to evolve the necessary overwinter survival.

Abstract

Seasonality is a key environmental factor that regularly promotes life history adaptation. Insects invading cold–temperate climates need to overwinter in a dormant state. We compared the role of temperature and photoperiod in dormancy induction in the laboratory, as well as winter survival and reproduction in the field and the laboratory, of 5 widespread European dung fly species (Diptera: Sepsidae) to investigate their extent of ecological differentiation and thermal adaptation. Unexpectedly, cold temperature is the primary environmental factor inducing winter dormancy, with short photoperiod playing an additional role mainly in species common at high altitudes and latitudes (Sepsis cynipsea, neocynipsea, fulgens), but not in those species also thriving in southern Europe (thoracica, punctum). All species hibernate as adults rather than juveniles. S. thoracica had very low adult winter survivorship under both (benign) laboratory and (harsh) field conditions, suggesting flexible quiescence rather than genetically fixed winter diapause, restricting their distribution towards the pole. All other species appear well suited for surviving cold, Nordic winters. Females born early in the season reproduce before winter while late-born females reproduce after winter, fulgens transitioning earliest before winter and thoracica and punctum latest; a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction during both seasons occurs rarely but is possible physiologically. Fertility patterns indicate that females can store sperm over winter. Winter dormancy induction mechanisms of European sepsids are congruent with their geographic distribution, co-defining their thermal niches. Flexible adult winter quiescence appears the easiest route for insects spreading towards the poles to evolve the necessary overwinter survival.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 April 2019
Deposited On:09 Aug 2019 14:49
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:30
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0029-8549
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-019-04378-0
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_143787
  • : Project TitleComparative evolutionary analysis of incipient speciation due to thermal adaptation and sexual selection in geographically isolated sepsid flies (Sepsis (neo)cynipsea, Sepsis punctum)

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