- Adaptation in a spider mite population after long-term evolution on a single host plant
- Journal of Evolutionary Biology
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Evolution in a single environment is expected to erode genetic variability, thereby precluding adaptation to novel environments. To test this, a large population of spider mites kept on cucumber for approximately 300 generations was used to establish populations on novel host plants (tomato or pepper), and changes in traits associated to adaptation were measured after 15 generations. Using a half-sib design, we investigated whether trait changes were related to genetic variation in the base population. Juvenile survival and fecundity exhibited genetic variation and increased in experimental populations on novel hosts. Conversely, no variation was detected for host choice and developmental time and these traits did not evolve. Longevity remained unchanged on novel hosts despite the presence of genetic variation, suggesting
weak selection for this trait. Hence, patterns of evolutionary changes generally matched those of genetic variation, and changes in some traits were not hindered by long-term evolution in a constant environment.
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