A Mosaic of Chemical Coevolution in a Large Blue Butterfly

Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 02/2008; 319(5859):88-90. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149180
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mechanisms of recognition are essential to the evolution of mutualistic and parasitic interactions between species. One such
example is the larval mimicry that Maculinea butterfly caterpillars use to parasitize Myrmica ant colonies. We found that the greater the match between the surface chemistry of Maculinea alcon and two of its host Myrmica species, the more easily ant colonies were exploited. The geographic patterns of surface chemistry indicate an ongoing coevolutionary
arms race between the butterflies and Myrmica rubra, which has significant genetic differentiation between populations, but not between the butterflies and a second, sympatric
host, Myrmica ruginodis, which has panmictic populations. Alternative hosts may therefore provide an evolutionary refuge for a parasite during periods
of counteradaptation by their preferred hosts.

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Available from: David Richard Nash, Jul 22, 2015
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    • "A field study ( Elmes et al . 2004 ) and an analysis of pre - adoption chemical profiles ( Nash et al . 2008 ) suggested that similar differentiation may have evolved between the main European form of M . alcon , which exploits Myrmica scabrinodis , and that of Scandinavia and the Netherlands , which is adapted to Myrmica rubra / M . ruginodis . Ant association is therefore a double - edged sword for the conservation of these lycaenid butterfl"
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Although most conservationists claim to protect “species”, the conservation unit actually and practically managed is the individual population. As resources are not unlimited, we need to focus on a restricted number of populations. But how can we select them? The Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU), first conceptualised by Ryder in 1986, may offer some answer. Several definitions have been proposed for the ESU, but all make reference to units “whose divergence can be measured or evaluated by putting differential emphasis on the role of evolutionary forces at varied temporal scales”. Thus, an ESU might be fully identical with a “species”, or a “species” could be composed of multiple ESUs. On the other hand, an ESU might comprise single/multiple populations exchanging a degree of gene flow, such as meta-populations. In an attempt to show strengths and weaknesses of ESU concepts, we present here, among several others, some case studies on the myrmecophilous butterflies of the genus Maculinea. In particular, we analyse the apparently everlasting debate about Maculinea alcon and M. rebeli, whose separation into separate species has been accepted by many authors, on mainly ecological criteria, but has not been fully supported by molecular analyses. We also discuss how the tight association with host ants may have driven selection for increasingly more strictly adapted Maculinea populations, arguably deserving specific taxonomic identity. Finally we discuss how current DNA analyses may fail to detect critical information on differences between taxa recently originated by the action of separate adaptive processes, which non-molecular studies can sometimes reveal. We conclude by discussing some current and often conflicting taxonomic trends, in their relationships with conservation policies.
    Italian Journal of Zoology 06/2014; DOI:10.1080/11250003.2013.870240 · 0.87 Impact Factor
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    • "C 20:0 ) (22% missing values). All peak areas were log-ratio transformed (Nash et al., 2008) and multivariate statistics performed to explore changes in fatty acid composition. Principle component analysis was used to obtain two principle components (PC1, PC2) for each sample using past (Hammer et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Acquiring sufficient nutrients is particularly important for insects that are unable to synthesize certain nutrient types de novo, as is the case for numerous parasitoid species that do not synthesize lipids. The lipid reserves of parasitoids are acquired from a single host during larval development. This imposes constraints on the quantity and quality of available lipids. In the present study, the lipid dynamics throughout the trophic cascade are investigated by measuring lipogenic ability, modifications in fatty acid composition and host exploitation efficiency in species at different trophic positions within the community of parasitoids associated with the gall wasp Diplolepis rosae L. (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). The results obtained show that lipid levels remain stable or decline after feeding in all species, indicating that none of the wasps synthesize lipids. Fatty acid composition is highly similar between the gall wasp, parasitoid and hyperparasitoid species, with the exception of the parasitoid Orthopelma mediator Thunberg (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). The divergence of fatty acid composition in O. mediator suggests that this species is able to modify its fatty acid composition after the consumption of host lipids. The efficiency of exploitation of host resource, in terms of dry body mass acquired, varies among the species (41–70%), although it is high overall compared with the efficiencies reported in other animals. Hence, for parasitoid wasps that lack lipid synthesis capabilities, the efficiency of host exploitation is high and fatty acids are consumed directly from the host without modification, leading to stable fatty acid compositions throughout the trophic cascade.
    Physiological Entomology 10/2013; 38(4). DOI:10.1111/phen.12035 · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    • "Parasites that exploit solitary hosts cannot expose themselves to many chemical tracks. In fact, chemical camouflage can be seen in cases where a social parasite belongs to a different taxonomic group from its host (Akino et al. 1999; Akino 2002; Nash et al. 2008) as well as to the same taxonomic group (Bagnères et al. 1996; Lenoir et al. 1997; Sledge et al. 2001; Lorenzi et al. 2004; Brandt et al. 2005b), or even to a combination of chemical camouflage and mimicry (Dettner and Liepert 1994; Lenoir et al. 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Social parasitism is an intriguing model of arms-race coevolution, in which the parasite exploits the host social system. The parasite evolves to breakdown the host’s defenses. We analyzed the role of 2 pseudoscorpion species that live in mixed colonies in the Brazilian Cerrado (tropical savannah). Multispecies aggregation is a rare phenomenon among arachnids. Mixed pseudoscorpion colonies were studied in nature and in the laboratory during a period of 7 years and the hypothesis of a relationship based on social parasitism between species was evaluated, including the main strategies involved. Experiments and direct behavioral observations indicated that the pseudoscorpion Parachernes melanopygus is a social parasite of Paratemnoides nidificator, able to invade host colonies and exploit their resources by simulating host nymphs’ behavior. Although the host species has a recognition system, the parasite evades colony defenses by using a chemical camouflage mechanism. We find support for the hypothesis of a new model of social parasitism among phylogenetically distant pseudoscorpion species. To survive in the host colony, the parasite applies a combination of strategies, previously observed in social brood parasite ants and birds. This phenomenon provides new knowledge of the Arachnida group and also for known models of social parasitism.
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