[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extent of damage to crop plants from pest insects depends on
the foraging behaviour of the insect’s feeding stage. Little is known,
however, about the genetic and molecular bases of foraging
behaviour in phytophagous pest insects. The
candidate gene encoding a PKG-I, has an evolutionarily conserved
function in feeding strategies. Until now,
had never been studied
in Lepidoptera, which includes major pest species. The cereal stem
is therefore a relevant species within this
order with which to study conservation of and polymorphism in the
gene, and its role in foraging – a behavioural trait that is directly
associated with plant injuries. Full sequencing of
revealed a high degree of conservation with other insect
taxa. Activation of PKG by a cGMP analogue increased larval
foraging activity, measured by how frequently larvae moved between
food patches in an actimeter. We found one non-synonymous allelic
variation in a natural population that defined two allelic variants.
These variants presented significantly different levels of foraging
activity, and the behaviour was positively correlated to gene
expression levels. Our results show that
gene function is
conserved in this species of Lepidoptera, and describe an original
case of a single nucleotide polymorphism associated with foraging
behaviour variation in a pest insect. By illustrating how variation in
this single gene can predict phenotype, this work opens new
perspectives into the evolutionary context of insect adaptation to
plants, as well as pest management.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms that influence the population dynamics and spatial genetic structure of the vectors of pathogens infecting humans is a central issue in tropical epidemiology. In view of the rapid changes in the features of landscape pathogen vectors live in, this issue requires new methods that consider both natural and human systems and their interactions. In this context, individual-based model (IBM) simulations represent powerful yet poorly developed approaches to explore the response of pathogen vectors in heterogeneous social-ecological systems, especially when field experiments cannot be performed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the prey-predator interactions between the European honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the invasive yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, which first invaded France in 2004 and thereafter spread to neighbouring European countries (Spain, Portugal and Italy). Our goal was to determine how successfully honeybees are able to defend their colonies against their new predator in Europe. Experiments were conducted in the southwest of France-the point of entry of the hornet in Europe-under natural and semi-controlled field conditions. We investigated a total of eight apiaries and 95 colonies subjected to either low or high levels of predation. We analysed hornet predatory behaviour and collective response of colonies under attack. The results showed that A. mellifera in France exhibit an inefficient and unorganized defence against V. velutina, unlike in other regions of Europe and other areas around the globe where honeybees have co-evolved with their natural Vespa predators.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bridging the gap between the predictions of coarse-scale climate models and the fine-scale climatic reality of species is a key issue of climate change biology research. While it is now well known that most organisms do not experience the climatic conditions recorded at weather stations, there is little information on the discrepancies between microclimates and global interpolated temperatures used in species distribution models, and their consequences for organisms' performance. To address this issue, we examined the fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity in air, crop canopy and soil temperatures of agricultural landscapes in the Ecuadorian Andes and compared them to predictions of global interpolated climatic grids. Temperature time-series were measured in air, canopy and soil for 108 localities at three altitudes and analysed using Fourier transform. Discrepancies between local temperatures vs. global interpolated grids and their implications for pest performance were then mapped and analysed using GIS statistical toolbox. Our results showed that global interpolated predictions over-estimate by 77.5±10% and under-estimate by 82.1±12% local minimum and maximum air temperatures recorded in the studied grid. Additional modifications of local air temperatures were due to the thermal buffering of plant canopies (from -2.7°K during daytime to 1.3°K during night-time) and soils (from -4.9°K during daytime to 6.7°K during night-time) with a significant effect of crop phenology on the buffer effect. This discrepancies between interpolated and local temperatures strongly affected predictions of the performance of an ectothermic crop pest as interpolated temperatures predicted pest growth rates 2.3-4.3 times lower than those predicted by local temperatures. This study provides quantitative information on the limitation of coarse-scale climate data to capture the reality of the climatic environment experienced by living organisms. In highly heterogeneous region such as tropical mountains, caution should therefore be taken when using global models to infer local-scale biological processes.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e105541. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coloration of stinging insects is often based on contrasted patterns of light and black pigmentations as a warning signal to predators. However, in many social wasp species, geographic variation drastically modifies this signal through melanic polymorphism potentially driven by different selective pressures. To date, surprisingly little is known about the geographic variation of coloration of social wasps in relation to aposematism and melanism and to genetic and developmental constraints. The main objectives of this study are to improve the description of the colour variation within a social wasp species and to determine which factors are driving this variation. Therefore, we explored the evolutionary history of a polymorphic hornet, Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836, using mitochondrial and microsatellite markers, and we analysed its melanic variation using a colour space based on a description of body parts coloration. We found two main lineages within the species and confirmed the previous synonymy of V. auraria Smith, 1852, under V. velutina, differing only by the coloration. We also found that the melanic variation of most body parts was positively correlated, with some segments forming potential colour modules. Finally, we showed that the variation of coloration between populations was not related to their molecular, geographic or climatic differences. Our observations suggest that the coloration patterns of hornets and their geographic variations are determined by genes with an influence of developmental constraints. Our results also highlight that Vespa velutina populations have experienced several convergent evolutions of the coloration, more likely influenced by constraints on aposematism and Müllerian mimicry than by abiotic pressures on melanism.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94162. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic analysis combined with chemical ecology can contribute to the delimitation of closely related insect species, particularly in Lepidoptera. In this study, the taxonomic status of a species in the genus Busseola (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) was discussed using morphological data, cross-mating experiments, sex pheromone chemistry, field-trapping, and molecular classification. The results of the chemical ecology experiments corroborated those from the phylogeny studies. It was concluded that several reproductive isolation components, namely host plants, geography, pheromone emission time, pheromone blend, and post-zygotic isolation factors, led to the separation of Busseola n. sp. from its closely related species B. segeta. Molecular data showed a strong difference between these two species, regardless of the marker used. The new species named Busseola nairobica was morphologically described and a hypothesis about the evolutionary history of the studied species was put forward.
Annales- Societe Entomologique de France 12/2013; 49(3):345-354. · 0.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding how and to what extent the influence of temperature on physiological performance scales up to interspecific interactions and process rate patterns remains a major scientific challenge faced by ecologists. Here, we combined approaches developed by two conceptual frameworks in ecology, the stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH), and the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship (B-EF), to test the hypothesis that interspecific difference in thermal performance modulates multiple species interactions along a thermal stress (SGH) and the subsequent richness effects on process rates (B-EF). We designed an experiment using three species of herbivorous agricultural pests with different thermal optima for which we determined how temperature influences the direction and the strength of interaction and subsequent richness effects on crop damage (7 species interaction treatments × 6 temperature treatments × 10 replicates). We showed that both biotic interactions and species richness effects drive variations in crop damages along a thermal stress gradient, and thus have the potential to drive agro-system responses to climate change. To help explain and generalize underlying mechanisms of richness effects on process rates, we further proposed a conceptual model that views interaction outcomes as shifting between positive and negative along a thermal stress depending on species thermal optima. Overall, our study demonstrates that nonlinear effects of temperature on process rates must be a major concern in terms of prediction and management of the consequences of global warming.
Global Change Biology 04/2013; 19(4):1056-63. · 8.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simulation models are essential tools in landscape genetics to study how genetic processes are affected by landscape heterogeneity. However, there is still a need to develop different simulation approaches in landscape genetics, so that users may dispose of additional programs to explore further the impact of land-use and land-cover changes on population genetics.
We developed a spatially explicit, individual-based, forward-time, landscape-genetic simulation model combined with a landscape cellular automaton to represent evolutionary processes of adaptation and population dynamics in changing landscapes, using the NetLogo environment.
This simulation model represents a unique tool for scientists and scholars looking for a practical and pedagogical framework to explore both empirical and theoretical situations.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 02/2013; · 5.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Les insectes herbivores constituent à eux seuls probablement plus d’un quart des organismes macroscopiques. Dans la faune récente, les insectes phytophages représentent près d’un quart des espèces d’insectes (Grimaldi et Engel, 2005). Ces insectes sont engagés dans des interactions plus ou moins spécialisées avec les plantes dont ils se nourrissent. Dans tous les ordres d’insectes, on trouve des phytophages.
Quelles sont les modalités de ces interactions ? Quelles sont les conséquences macro- évolutives pour les insectes phytophages ?
Des insectes et des plantes, Editions IRD & Publibook 01/2013: chapter 35;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Contrary to native predators, which have co-evolved with their prey, alien predators often benefit from native prey naïveté. Vespa velutina, a honeybee predator originating from Eastern China, was introduced into France just before 2004. The present study, based on video recordings of two beehives at an early stage of the invasion process, intends to analyse the alien hornet hunting behaviour on the native prey, Apis mellifera, and to understand the interaction between the activity of the predator and the prey during the day and the season. Chasing hornets spent most of their time hovering facing the hive, to catch flying honeybees returning to the hive. The predation pressure increased during the season confirming previous study based on predator trapping. The number of honeybee captures showed a maximum peak for an intermediate number of V. velutina, unrelated to honeybee activity, suggesting the occurrence of competition between hornets. The number of honeybees caught increased during midday hours while the number of hornets did not vary, suggesting an increase in their efficacy. These results suggest that the impact of V. velutina on honeybees is limited by its own biology and behaviour and did not match the pattern of activity of its prey. Also, it could have been advantageous during the invasion, limiting resource depletion and thus favouring colonisation. This lack of synchronization may also be beneficial for honeybee colonies by giving them an opportunity to increase their activity when the hornets are less effective.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66492. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thanks to the recent development of integrative approaches that combine dated phylogenies with models of biogeographic evolution, it is becoming more feasible to assess the roles of dispersal and vicariance in creating complex patterns of geographical distribution. However, the historical biogeography of taxa with good dispersal abilities, like birds or flying insects, still remains largely unknown because of the lack of complete phylogenies accompanied by robust estimates of divergence times. In this study, we investigate the evolution and historical biogeography of the globally distributed pest genus Spodoptera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) using complete taxon sampling and an extensive set of analyses. Through the analysis of a combined morphological and molecular dataset, we provide the first robust phylogenetic framework for this widespread and economically important group of moths. Historical biogeography approaches indicate that dispersal events have been the driving force in the biogeographic history of the group. One of the most interesting findings of this study is the probable occurrence of two symmetric long-distance dispersal events between the Afrotropical and the Neotropical region, which appear to have occurred in the late Miocene. Even more remarkably, our dated phylogenies reveal that the diversification of the clade that includes specialist grass feeders has followed closely the expansion of grasslands in the Miocene, similar to the adaptive radiation of specialist grazing mammals during the same period.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 08/2012; 65(3):855-70. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Between the late Oligocene and the early Miocene, climatic changes have shattered the faunal and floral communities and drove the apparition of new ecological niches. Grassland biomes began to supplant forestlands, thus favouring a large-scale ecosystem turnover. The independent adaptive radiations of several mammal lineages through the evolution of key innovations are classic examples of these changes. However, little is known concerning the evolutionary history of other herbivorous groups in relation with this modified environment. It is especially the case in phytophagous insect communities, which have been rarely studied in this context despite their ecological importance. Here, we investigate the phylogenetic and evolutionary patterns of grass-specialist moths from the species-rich tribe Apameini (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). The molecular dating analyses carried out over the corresponding phylogenetic framework reveal an origin around 29 million years ago for the Apameini. Ancestral state reconstructions indicate (i) a potential Palaearctic origin of the tribe Apameini associated with a major dispersal event in Afrotropics for the subtribe Sesamiina; (ii) a recent colonization from Palaearctic of the New World and Oriental regions by several independent lineages; and (iii) an ancestral association of the tribe Apameini over grasses (Poaceae). Diversification analyses indicate that diversification rates have not remained constant during the evolution of the group, as underlined by a significant shift in diversification rates during the early Miocene. Interestingly, this age estimate is congruent with the development of grasslands at this time. Rather than clade ages, variations in diversification rates among genera better explain the current differences in species diversity. Our results underpin a potential adaptive radiation of these phytophagous moths with the family Poaceae in relation with the major environmental shifts that have occurred in the Miocene.
PLoS ONE 07/2012; 7(7):e41377. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cereal stem borer Busseola fusca Fuller (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a species endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. It is a major pest of maize and cultivated sorghum, the main cereal crops on the Afri-can mainland. Previous studies using mitochondrial markers revealed the presence of three clades of haplotypes (W, KI, KII) among B. fusca populations. Previous preliminary studies based on a few B. fusca individuals collected from three localities within the Guineo-Congolian rain forest in Camer-oon demonstrated a matching with clade KII, a fairly surprising result because the putative centre of origin of that clade is located 3 000 km away in East Africa. To check this finding, 120 individuals of B. fusca covering several Cameroonian sites belonging to both Guineo-Congolian rain forest and Afromontane vegetation mosaics were collected. Comparison of cytochrome b sequences using the same marker revealed low mitochondrial diversity (h = 0.483 ± 0.054, p = 0.073 ± 0.061%). More-over, molecular diversity in the Guineo-Congolian rain forest zone was lower than that in Afromon-tane vegetation, which is therefore thought to be the likely starting point for the colonization of other zones in Cameroon. The study showed a moderate but significant structuring between populations (Φ ST = 0.034, P<0.001) as well as within and among the two Cameroonian phytogeographical groups considered (Φ SC = 0.000 and Φ CT = 0.051, respectively, both P<0.001). Nested clade phylo-geographic analysis indicated that all Cameroonian clades with significant geographical associations were interpreted as a phenomenon of contiguous range expansion. All results suggest that the Cameroonian population of B. fusca is relatively recent and originates from the recent geographical expansion of clade KII.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 06/2012; 145:143–152. · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a result of an intense host-parasite evolutionary arms race, parasitic wasps frequently display high levels of specialization on very few host species. For instance, in braconid wasps very few generalist species have been described. However, within this family, Cotesia sesamiae is a generalist species that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and develops on several lepidopteran hosts. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that C. sesamiae may be a cryptic specialist when examined at the intraspecific level. We sequenced exon 2 of CrV1, a gene of the symbiotic polyDNAvirus that is integrated into the wasp genome and is associated with host immune suppression. We found that CrV1 genotype was more closely associated with the host in which the parasitoid developed than any abiotic environmental factor tested. We also tested a correlation between CrV1 genotype and an infection with Wolbachia bacteria, which are known for their ability to induce reproductive isolation. The Wolbachia bacteria infection polymorphism was also found as a major factor explaining the genetic structure of CrV1, and, in addition, the best model explaining CrV1 genetic structure involved an interaction between Wolbachia infection and host species. We suggest that Wolbachia could act as an agent capable of maintaining advantageous alleles for host specialization in different populations of C. sesamiae. This mechanism could be applicable to other insect models because of the high prevalence of Wolbachia in insects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tropical mountains have a long history of human occupation, and although vulnerable to biological invasions, have received
minimal attention in the literature. Understanding invasive pest dynamics in socio-ecological, agricultural landscapes, like
the tropical Andes, is a challenging but timely issue for ecologists as it may provide developing countries with new tools
to face increasing threats posed by these organisms. In this work, road rehabilitation into a remote valley of the Ecuadorian
Andes constituted a natural experiment to study the spatial propagation of an invasive potato tuber moth into a previously
non-infested agricultural landscape. We used a cellular automaton to model moth spatio-temporal dynamics. Integrating real-world
variables in the model allowed us to examine the relative influence of environmental versus social landscape heterogeneity
on moth propagation. We focused on two types of anthropogenic activities: (1) the presence and spatial distribution of traditional
crop storage structures that modify local microclimate, and (2) long-distance dispersal (LDD) of moths by human-induced transportation.
Data from participatory monitoring of pest invasion into the valley and from a larger-scale field survey on the Ecuadorian
Andes allowed us to validate our model against actual presence/absence records. Our simulations revealed that high density
and a clumped distribution of storage structures had a positive effect on moth invasion by modifying the temperature of the
landscape, and that passive, LDD enhanced moth invasion. Model validation showed that including human influence produced more
precise and realistic simulations. We provide a powerful and widely applicable methodological framework that stresses the
crucial importance of integrating the social landscape to develop accurate invasion models of pest dynamics in complex, agricultural
KeywordsBoosted regression tree–Cellular automata–Crop storage structures–Gravity model–Invasive species–Long-distance dispersal–Mountainous landscapes–
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agent-based models (ABM) are ideal tools to deal with the complexity of pest invasion throughout agricultural socio-ecological systems, yet very few studies have applied them in such context. In this work we developed an ABM that simulates interactions between farmers and an invasive insect pest in an agricultural landscape of the tropical Andes. Our specific aims were to use the model 1) to assess the importance of farmers\' mobility and pest control knowledge on pest expansion and 2) to use it as an educational tool to train farmer communities facing pest risks. Our model combined an ecological sub-model, simulating pest population dynamics driven by a cellular automaton including environmental factors of the landscape, with a social model in which we incorporated agents (farmers) potentially transporting and spreading the pest through displacements among villages. Results of model simulation revealed that both agents\' movements and knowledge had a significant, non-linear, impact on invasion spread, confirming previous works on disease expansion by epidemiologists. However, heterogeneity in knowledge among agents had a low effect on invasion dynamics except at high levels of knowledge. Evaluations of the training sessions using ABM suggest that farmers would be able to better manage their crop after our implementation. Moreover, by providing farmers with evidence that pests propagated through their community not as the result of isolated decisions but rather as the result of repeated interactions between multiple individuals over time, our ABM allowed introducing them with social and psychological issues which are usually neglected in integrated pest management programs.
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, The 01/2011; 14. · 1.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of the congeneric braconid parasitoids Cotesia sesamiae (Cameron) and Cotesia flavipes Cameron to discriminate between stemborer larval cues upon contact was studied using their natural hosts, namely the noctuid Busseola fusca (Fuller) and the crambid Chilo partellus (Swinhoe), respectively, and the pyralid non-host Eldana saccharina (Walker). When the natural host larvae were washed in distilled water, parasitoid behavior was similar to that displayed when in contact with E. saccharina, characterized by the absence of ovipositor insertion. When washed host or non-host larvae were bathed with water extracts of their natural host, the parasitoids showed a significant increase in ovipositor insertions. However, the water extracts of host-larvae deposited on cotton wool balls did not induce ovipositor insertion in either C. sesamiae or C. flavipes. Nevertheless, the extracts enabled the parasitoids to discriminate between natural and non-hosts as indicated by the intensive antennating of the former. For both parasitoids, frass was found to be important in short-range host recognition as indicated by differences in the time spent on antennating between frass sources. In addition, the regurgitants of B. fusca and C. partellus induced ovipositor insertion in C. flavipes only. These results indicated that C. sesamiae and C. flavipes used different chemical cues for acceptation and oviposition in a stemborer larva, and that B. fusca and C. partellus shared the same chemical cues to induce oviposition in C. flavipes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Summary1. Insect pests in agricultural systems are one of the major causes of damage to crop production and storage worldwide. However, the study of the effect of multiple pests on agricultural productivity has remained largely disconnected from the ongoing debate on how species diversity affects the productivity of ecosystems. The aim of our study is to use information from crop studies to inform the debate on species diversity and ecosystem productivity.2. We present the results of an experimental study that manipulated the species richness of three tuber feeding moth species (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) at constant larval density. We measured the influence of this manipulation on (1) damage to the economically most important crop in the Andean region, the potato Solanum tuberosum and (2) the performance of the moths as a consequence of feeding rates.3. Our results showed that the three pest species together cause more damage to the crop than is predicted from the effects of each pest alone. This resulted in significant increases in pupal biomass and fecundity.4. Potential mechanisms to explain our results are (1) more complete resource utilization and thus greater crop damage (feeding complementarity) and (2) negative interactions, where intra-specific interactions are greater than inter-specific interactions.5.Synthesis and applications. Our findings may have important consequences for integrated pest management in poor tropical countries. Biodiversity in many tropical countries is decreasing rapidly, leading to reductions in ecosystem services such as biocontrol and pollination. At the same time an increasing number of species, many of them agricultural pests, are being introduced by humans. Our results show that the potential complementarity effects among pest species may increase damage to field crops to a larger extent than previously expected. Control strategies to limit the introduction of new pest species are therefore urgently needed in these countries where the daily management of biological resources is largely in the hands of poor rural people and local government staff with limited funding.