ResearchPad - 1001 https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Re-imaging the intentional stance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_9537 The commonly used paradigm to investigate Dennet's ‘intentional stance’ compares neural activation when participants compete with a human versus a computer. This paradigm confounds whether the opponent is natural or artificial and whether it is intentional or an automaton. This functional magnetic resonance imaging study is, to our knowledge, the first to investigate the intentional stance by orthogonally varying perceptions of the opponents' intentionality (responding actively or passively according to a script) and embodiment (human or a computer). The mere perception of the opponent (whether human or computer) as intentional activated the mentalizing network: the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) bilaterally, right temporal pole, anterior paracingulate cortex (aPCC) and the precuneus. Interacting with humans versus computers induced activations in a more circumscribed right lateralized subnetwork within the mentalizing network, consisting of the TPJ and the aPCC, possibly reflective of the tendency to spontaneously attribute intentionality to humans. The interaction between intentionality (active versus passive) and opponent (human versus computer) recruited the left frontal pole, possibly in response to violations of the default intentional stance towards humans and computers. Employing an orthogonal design is important to adequately capture Dennett's conception of the intentional stance as a mentalizing strategy that can apply equally well to humans and other intentional agents.

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<![CDATA[Coexisting attractors in the context of cross-scale population dynamics: measles in London as a case study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_9535 Patterns of measles infection in large urban populations have long been considered the paradigm of synchronized nonlinear dynamics. Indeed, recurrent epidemics appear approximately mass-action despite underlying heterogeneity. However, using a subset of rich, newly digitized mortality data (1897–1906), we challenge that proposition. We find that sub-regions of London exhibited a mixture of simultaneous annual and biennial dynamics, while the aggregate city-level dynamics appears firmly annual. Using a simple stochastic epidemic model and maximum-likelihood inference methods, we show that we can capture this observed variation in periodicity. We identify agreement between theory and data, indicating that both changes in periodicity and epidemic coupling between regions can follow relatively simple rules; in particular we find local variation in seasonality drives periodicity. Our analysis underlines that multiple attractors can coexist in a strongly mixed population and follow theoretical predictions.

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<![CDATA[The apparent exponential radiation of Phanerozoic land vertebrates is an artefact of spatial sampling biases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc9e55dae-0ecc-4336-855c-b5ad1fdaf2ed There is no consensus about how terrestrial biodiversity was assembled through deep time, and in particular whether it has risen exponentially over the Phanerozoic. Using a database of 60 859 fossil occurrences, we show that the spatial extent of the worldwide terrestrial tetrapod fossil record itself expands exponentially through the Phanerozoic. Changes in spatial sampling explain up to 67% of the change in known fossil species counts, and these changes are decoupled from variation in habitable land area that existed through time. Spatial sampling therefore represents a real and profound sampling bias that cannot be explained as redundancy. To address this bias, we estimate terrestrial tetrapod diversity for palaeogeographical regions of approximately equal size. We find that regional-scale diversity was constrained over timespans of tens to hundreds of millions of years, and similar patterns are recovered for major subgroups, such as dinosaurs, mammals and squamates. Although the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction catalysed an abrupt two- to three-fold increase in regional diversity 66 million years ago, no further increases occurred, and recent levels of regional diversity do not exceed those of the Palaeogene. These results parallel those recovered in analyses of local community-level richness. Taken together, our findings strongly contradict past studies that suggested unbounded diversity increases at local and regional scales over the last 100 million years.

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<![CDATA[Intestinal microbes: an axis of functional diversity among large marine consumers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N11c9ff5b-6314-46a5-963a-c9aec1a1f5de Microbes are ubiquitous throughout the world's oceans, yet the manner and extent of their influence on the ecology and evolution of large, mobile fauna remains poorly understood. Here, we establish the intestinal microbiome as a hidden, and potentially important, ‘functional trait’ of tropical herbivorous fishes—a group of large consumers critical to coral reef resilience. Using field observations, we demonstrate that five common Caribbean fish species display marked differences in where they feed and what they feed on. However, in addition to space use and feeding behaviour—two commonly measured functional traits—we find that interspecific trait differences are even more pronounced when considering the herbivore intestinal microbiome. Microbiome composition was highly species specific. Phylogenetic comparison of the dominant microbiome members to all known microbial taxa suggest that microbiomes are comprised of putative environmental generalists, animal-associates and fish specialists (resident symbionts), the latter of which mapped onto host phylogeny. These putative symbionts are most similar to—among all known microbes—those that occupy the intestines of ecologically and evolutionarily related herbivorous fishes in more distant ocean basins. Our findings therefore suggest that the intestinal microbiome may be an important functional trait among these large-bodied consumers.

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<![CDATA[Phylogenetic clustering and rarity imply risk of local species extinction in prospective deep-sea mining areas of the Clarion–Clipperton Fracture Zone]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N01777460-8e8b-4c0c-b411-8f7e1d52e262 An understanding of the forces controlling community structure in the deep sea is essential at a time when its pristineness is threatened by polymetallic nodule mining. Because abiotically defined communities are more sensitive to environmental change, we applied occurrence- and phylogeny-based metrics to determine the importance of biotic versus abiotic structuring processes in nematodes, the most abundant invertebrate taxon of the Clarion–Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ), an area targeted for mining. We investigated the prevalence of rarity and the explanatory power of environmental parameters with respect to phylogenetic diversity (PD). We found evidence for aggregation and phylogenetic clustering in nematode amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) and the dominant genus Acantholaimus, indicating the influence of environmental filtering, sympatric speciation, affinity for overlapping habitats and facilitation for community structure. PD was associated with abiotic variables such as total organic carbon, chloroplastic pigments equivalents and/or mud content, explaining up to 57% of the observed variability and providing further support of the prominence of environmental structuring forces. Rarity was high throughout, ranging from 64 to 75% unique ASVs. Communities defined by environmental filtering with a prevalence of rarity in the CCFZ suggest taxa of these nodule-bearing abyssal plains will be especially vulnerable to the risk of extinction brought about by the efforts to extract them.

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<![CDATA[Genetic architecture of a key reproductive isolation trait differs between sympatric and non-sympatric sister species of Lake Victoria cichlids]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd141aa0e-3c78-4fd4-aac5-04dac3d58edc One hallmark of the East African cichlid radiations is the rapid evolution of reproductive isolation that is robust to full sympatry of many closely related species. Theory predicts that species persistence and speciation in sympatry with gene flow are facilitated if loci of large effect or physical linkage (or pleiotropy) underlie traits involved in reproductive isolation. Here, we investigate the genetic architecture of a key trait involved in behavioural isolation, male nuptial coloration, by crossing two sister species pairs of Lake Victoria cichlids of the genus Pundamilia and mapping nuptial coloration in the F2 hybrids. One is a young sympatric species pair, representative of an axis of colour motif differentiation, red-dorsum versus blue, that is highly recurrent in closely related sympatric species. The other is a species pair representative of colour motifs, red-chest versus blue, that are common in allopatric but uncommon in sympatric closely related species. We find significant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) with moderate to large effects (some overlapping) for red and yellow in the sympatric red-dorsum × blue cross, whereas we find no significant QTLs in the non-sympatric red-chest × blue cross. These findings are consistent with theory predicting that large effect loci or linkage/pleiotropy underlying mating trait differentiation could facilitate speciation and species persistence with gene flow in sympatry.

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<![CDATA[Underwater caustics disrupt prey detection by a reef fish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nedd18f8c-0807-4d5b-a2ae-88d3646a98e9 Natural habitats contain dynamic elements, such as varying local illumination. Can such features mitigate the salience of organism movement? Dynamic illumination is particularly prevalent in coral reefs, where patterns known as ‘water caustics’ play chaotically in the shallows. In behavioural experiments with a wild-caught reef fish, the Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus), we demonstrate that the presence of dynamic water caustics negatively affects the detection of moving prey items, as measured by attack latency, relative to static water caustic controls. Manipulating two further features of water caustics (sharpness and scale) implies that the masking effect should be most effective in shallow water: scenes with fine scale and sharp water caustics induce the longest attack latencies. Due to the direct impact upon foraging efficiency, we expect the presence of dynamic water caustics to influence decisions about habitat choice and foraging by wild prey and predators.

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<![CDATA[Acclimation capacity and rate change through life in the zooplankton <i>Daphnia</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na88aead3-e120-460b-917d-376668239e3a When a change in the environment occurs, organisms can maintain an optimal phenotypic state via plastic, reversible changes to their phenotypes. These adjustments, when occurring within a generation, are described as the process of acclimation. While acclimation has been studied for more than half a century, global environmental change has stimulated renewed interest in quantifying variation in the rate and capacity with which this process occurs, particularly among ectothermic organisms. Yet, despite the likely ecological importance of acclimation capacity and rate, how these traits change throughout life among members of the same species is largely unstudied. Here we investigate these relationships by measuring the acute heat tolerance of the clonally reproducing zooplankter Daphnia magna of different size/age and acclimation status. The heat tolerance of individuals completely acclimated to relatively warm (28°C) or cool (17°C) temperatures diverged during development, indicating that older, larger individuals had a greater capacity to increase heat tolerance. However, when cool acclimated individuals were briefly exposed to the warm temperature (i.e. were ‘heat-hardened'), it was younger, smaller animals with less capacity to acclimate that were able to do so more rapidly because they obtained or came closer to obtaining complete acclimation of heat tolerance. Our results illustrate that within a species, individuals can differ substantially in how rapidly and by how much they can respond to environmental change. We urge greater investigation of the intraspecific relationship between acclimation and development along with further consideration of the factors that might contribute to these enigmatic patterns of phenotypic variation.

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<![CDATA[Global shifts in mammalian population trends reveal key predictors of virus spillover risk]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndff64f7e-baec-4f05-b52b-09b447dda302 Emerging infectious diseases in humans are frequently caused by pathogens originating from animal hosts, and zoonotic disease outbreaks present a major challenge to global health. To investigate drivers of virus spillover, we evaluated the number of viruses mammalian species have shared with humans. We discovered that the number of zoonotic viruses detected in mammalian species scales positively with global species abundance, suggesting that virus transmission risk has been highest from animal species that have increased in abundance and even expanded their range by adapting to human-dominated landscapes. Domesticated species, primates and bats were identified as having more zoonotic viruses than other species. Among threatened wildlife species, those with population reductions owing to exploitation and loss of habitat shared more viruses with humans. Exploitation of wildlife through hunting and trade facilitates close contact between wildlife and humans, and our findings provide further evidence that exploitation, as well as anthropogenic activities that have caused losses in wildlife habitat quality, have increased opportunities for animal–human interactions and facilitated zoonotic disease transmission. Our study provides new evidence for assessing spillover risk from mammalian species and highlights convergent processes whereby the causes of wildlife population declines have facilitated the transmission of animal viruses to humans.

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<![CDATA[Structure–behaviour correlations between two genetically closely related snail species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N34ae456a-4468-4991-abda-6f0c6f32bda7

Species, through their structure and composition, have evolved to respond to environmental constraints. Predator–prey interactions are among environmental pressures that can lead to speciation, but it remains unclear how this pressure can be related to the material structure and performance. Recently, two land snails, Karaftohelix editha and Karaftohelix gainesi, were found to exhibit divergent phenotypes and responses to predation despite sharing the same habitat and most of their genome. Indeed, under attack from a beetle, K. editha snails retract into their shell whereas K. gainesi snails swing their shell. In this paper, we looked at the microstructure, composition, morphology and mechanics of the shells of those two species and discuss potential relationships between material structure and the snail defence behaviour. The results of this study provide additional arguments for the role of predator–prey interactions on speciation, as well as an unusual approach for the design of biomimetic structures adapted to a particular function.

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<![CDATA[A multivariate analysis of women's mating strategies and sexual selection on men's facial morphology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N25e0ddb3-4144-4e77-b0b0-40a850cdf521

The strength and direction of sexual selection via female choice on masculine facial traits in men is a paradox in human mate choice research. While masculinity may communicate benefits to women and offspring directly (i.e. resources) or indirectly (i.e. health), masculine men may be costly as long-term partners owing to lower paternal investment. Mating strategy theory suggests women's preferences for masculine traits are strongest when the costs associated with masculinity are reduced. This study takes a multivariate approach to testing whether women's mate preferences are context-dependent. Women (n = 919) rated attractiveness when considering long-term and short-term relationships for male faces varying in beardedness (clean-shaven and full beards) and facial masculinity (30% and 60% feminized, unmanipulated, 30% and 60% masculinized). Participants then completed scales measuring pathogen, sexual and moral disgust, disgust towards ectoparasites, reproductive ambition, self-perceived mate value and the facial hair in partners and fathers. In contrast to past research, we found no associations between pathogen disgust, self-perceived mate value or reproductive ambition and facial masculinity preferences. However, we found a significant positive association between moral disgust and preferences for masculine faces and bearded faces. Preferences for beards were lower among women with higher ectoparasite disgust, providing evidence for ectoparasite avoidance hypothesis. However, women reporting higher pathogen disgust gave higher attractiveness ratings for bearded faces than women reporting lower pathogen disgust, providing support for parasite-stress theories of sexual selection and mate choice. Preferences for beards were also highest among single and married women with the strongest reproductive ambition. Overall, our results reflect mixed associations between individual differences in mating strategies and women's mate preferences for masculine facial traits.

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<![CDATA[Sexual frequency is associated with age of natural menopause: results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N9ca572b3-18fc-4cfb-9e0f-7d2629bf6aa4

It is often observed that married women have a later age of natural menopause (ANM) than unmarried women; however, the reason for this association is unknown. We test an original hypothesis that sexual frequency acts as a bio-behavioural mediator between marital status and ANM. We hypothesize that there is a trade-off between continued ovulation and menopause based on the woman's chances of becoming pregnant. If a woman is sexually inactive, then pregnancy is impossible, and continued investment in ovulation would not be adaptive. In addition, we test an existing hypothesis that the observed relationship is because of the exposure to male pheromones. Data from 2936 women were drawn from 11 waves of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, which is a longitudinal study conducted in the United States. Using time-varying Cox regression, we found no evidence for the pheromone hypothesis. However, we did observe that women who reported to have sex weekly during the study period were 28% less likely to experience menopause than women who had sex less than monthly. This is an indication that ANM may be somewhat facultative in response to the likelihood of pregnancy.

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<![CDATA[Knowing when to stick: touch receptors found in the remora adhesive disc]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndb9a3bac-8689-4e18-b01b-2653f16e443d

Remoras are fishes that piggyback onto larger marine fauna via an adhesive disc to increase locomotor efficiency, likelihood of finding mates and access to prey. Attaching rapidly to a large, fast-moving host is no easy task, and while research to date has focused on how the disc supports adhesion, no attention has been paid to how or if remoras are able to sense attachment. We identified push-rod-like mechanoreceptor complexes embedded in the soft lip of the remora adhesive disc that are known in other organisms to respond to touch and shear forces. This is, to our knowledge, the first time such mechanoreceptor complexes are described in fishes as they were only known previously in monotremes. The presence of push-rod-like mechanoreceptor complexes suggests not only that fishes may be able to sense their environment in ways not heretofore described but that specialized tactile mechanoreceptor complexes may be a more basal vertebrate feature than previously thought.

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<![CDATA[What makes a pair bond in a Neotropical primate: female and male contributions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N83ea953f-5c33-488f-a14d-34442f3aac35

Pair living and pair bonding are rare in mammals, and the mechanisms of their maintenance remain a puzzle. Titi monkeys, a ‘textbook example’ for ‘monogamous’ primates, have strong pair bonds and extensive male care. To investigate mechanisms of pair-bond maintenance, we studied seven wild groups of red titis (Plecturocebus cupreus) in Peruvian Amazonia over a period of 14 months. We analysed pair bonds by measuring proximity, grooming and approaches/leaves within pairs, and collected data on intergroup encounters. Females contributed to grooming more than males, especially during infant dependency, when most of the grooming within pairs was done by females. Females were also more active in controlling proximity between pair mates, making most of the approaches and leaves. Males, on the other hand, invested more in territorial defences. They participated in more intergroup encounters than females and were more active during these encounters. Our data is most consistent with the ‘male-services’ hypothesis for pair-bond maintenance, where a female contributes more to the proximity and affiliation maintenance while a male provides beneficial services.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of statistical correlations between properties of adaptive walks in fitness landscapes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2721638e-c6ac-41d4-8696-8dae5a7fc88a

The fitness landscape metaphor has been central in our way of thinking about adaptation. In this scenario, adaptive walks are idealized dynamics that mimic the uphill movement of an evolving population towards a fitness peak of the landscape. Recent works in experimental evolution have demonstrated that the constraints imposed by epistasis are responsible for reducing the number of accessible mutational pathways towards fitness peaks. Here, we exhaustively analyse the statistical properties of adaptive walks for two empirical fitness landscapes and theoretical NK landscapes. Some general conclusions can be drawn from our simulation study. Regardless of the dynamics, we observe that the shortest paths are more regularly used. Although the accessibility of a given fitness peak is reasonably correlated to the number of monotonic pathways towards it, the two quantities are not exactly proportional. A negative correlation between predictability and mean path divergence is established, and so the decrease of the number of effective mutational pathways ensures the convergence of the attraction basin of fitness peaks. On the other hand, other features are not conserved among fitness landscapes, such as the relationship between accessibility and predictability.

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<![CDATA[An experimental approach to evaluate the potential of drones in terrestrial mammal research: a gregarious ungulate as a study model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5745988f-3513-4c72-b094-70620994866c

Research on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in wildlife has made remarkable progress recently. Few studies to date have experimentally evaluated the effect of UAS on animals and have usually focused primarily on aquatic fauna. In terrestrial open arid ecosystems, with relatively good visibility to detect animals but little environmental noise, there should be a trade-off between flying the UAS at high height above ground level (AGL) to limit the disturbance of animals and flying low enough to maintain count precision. In addition, body size or social aggregation of species can also affect the ability to detect animals from the air and their response to the UAS approach. To address this gap, we used a gregarious ungulate, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), as a study model. Based on three types of experimental flights, we demonstrated that (i) the likelihood of miscounting guanacos in images increases with UAS height, but only for offspring and (ii) higher height AGL and lower UAS speed reduce disturbance, except for large groups, which always reacted. Our results call into question mostly indirect and observational previous evidence that terrestrial mammals are more tolerant to UAS than other species and highlight the need for experimental and species-specific studies before using UAS methods.

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<![CDATA[Genetic affinity between Ningxia Hui and eastern Asian populations revealed by a set of InDel loci]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Naa3c2295-5c1b-4eaa-916f-9858243c3933

According to historical records, ethnic Hui in China obtained substantial genetic components from western Eurasian populations during their Islamization. However, some scholars believed that the ancestry of Hui people were native Chinese populations. In this context, the formation of Hui is due to simple cultural diffusion rather than demic diffusion. In this study, we examined the forensic and population genetic application of the 30 InDel loci in Hui population from Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China. Genotype analysis of 129 unrelated individuals revealed that all loci were in the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in Ningxia Hui. Forensic indices calculated from genotypes demonstrated that this panel, Qiagen DIPplex® Investigator kit, was powerful enough to be used in individual identification but not in paternity cases. Through population genetic analysis, we found that Ningxia Hui received much more genetic contributions from East Asian populations than those from western Eurasian populations. Finally, we statistically identified the admixture signal of eastern and western Eurasians, although the latter is weak, in Ningxia Hui via the three-population test. All this evidence suggested that the formation of Ningxia Hui was mainly attributed to the cultural transformation of local Chinese residents with minor gene flow from western Eurasian populations.

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<![CDATA[Mindreading in the balance: adults' mediolateral leaning and anticipatory looking foretell others’ action preparation in a false-belief interactive task]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N95bb01ba-f9d7-4ea2-9945-d13b4f30a4c5

Anticipatory looking on mindreading tasks can indicate our expectation of an agent's action. The challenge is that social situations are often more complex, involving instances where we need to track an agent's false belief to successfully identify the outcome to which an action is directed. If motor processes can guide how action goals are understood, it is conceivable—where that kind of goal ascription occurs in false-belief tasks—for motor representations to account for someone's belief-like state. Testing adults (N = 42) in a real-time interactive helping scenario, we discovered that participants' early mediolateral motor activity (leftwards–rightwards leaning on balance board) foreshadowed the agent's belief-based action preparation. These results suggest fast belief-tracking can modulate motor representations generated in the course of one's interaction with an agent. While adults' leaning, and anticipatory looking, revealed the contribution of fast false-belief tracking, participants did not correct the agent's mistake in their final helping action. These discoveries suggest that adults may not necessarily use another's belief during overt social interaction or find reflecting on another's belief as being normatively relevant to one's own choice of action. Our interactive task design offers a promising way to investigate how motor and mindreading processes may be variously integrated.

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<![CDATA[An atypical mating system in a neotropical manakin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3f9e6cbc-e8a0-42c4-bf6d-f36b51f0c46c

Most of the diversity in the mating systems of birds and other animals comes at higher taxonomic levels, such as across orders. Although divergent selective pressures should lead to animal mating systems that diverge sharply from those of close relatives, opportunities to examine the importance of such processes are scarce. We addressed this issue using the Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni), a species endemic to a forest enclave surrounded by xeric shrublands in Brazil. Most manakins exhibit polygynous lekking mating systems that lack territoriality but exhibit strong sexual selection. In sharp contrast, we found that male Araripe manakins defended exclusive territories, and females nested within male territories. However, territoriality and offspring paternity were dissociated: males sired only 7% of nestlings from the nests within their territories and non-territorial males sired numerous nestlings. Moreover, female polyandry was widespread, with most broods exhibiting mixed paternity. Apparently, territories in this species function differently from both lekking arenas and resource-based territories of socially monogamous species. The unexpected territoriality of Araripe manakins and its dissociation from paternity is a unique evolutionary development within the manakin clade. Collectively, our findings underscore how divergences in mating systems might evolve based on selective pressures from novel environmental contexts.

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<![CDATA[Limited thermal plasticity and geographical divergence in the ovipositor of Drosophila suzukii]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf42216b8-039f-48a2-bf6a-eb018e9931d0

Phenotypic plasticity has been repeatedly suggested to facilitate adaptation to new environmental conditions, as in invasions. Here, we investigate this possibility by focusing on the worldwide invasion of Drosophila suzukii: an invasive species that has rapidly colonized all continents over the last decade. This species is characterized by a highly developed ovipositor, allowing females to lay eggs through the skin of ripe fruits. Using a novel approach based on the combined use of scanning electron microscopy and photogrammetry, we quantified the ovipositor size and three-dimensional shape, contrasting invasive and native populations raised at three different developmental temperatures. We found a small but significant effect of temperature and geographical origin on the ovipositor shape, showing the occurrence of both geographical differentiation and plasticity to temperature. The shape reaction norms are in turn strikingly similar among populations, suggesting very little difference in shape plasticity among invasive and native populations, and therefore rejecting the hypothesis of a particular role for the plasticity of the ovipositor in the invasion success. Overall, the ovipositor shape seems to be a fairly robust trait, indicative of stabilizing selection. The large performance spectrum rather than the flexibility of the ovipositor would thus contribute to the success of D. suzukii worldwide invasion.

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