The evolution of adult pollen feeding did not alter postembryonic growth in Heliconius butterflies.
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Hebberecht, L., Melo-Flórez, L., Young, F. J., McMillan, W. O., & Montgomery, S. H. (2022). The evolution of adult pollen feeding did not alter postembryonic growth in Heliconius butterflies.. Ecol Evol, 12 (6) https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8999
For many animals, the availability and provision of dietary resources can vary markedly between juvenile and adult stages, often leading to a temporal separation of nutrient acquisition and use. Juvenile developmental programs are likely limited by the energetic demands of many adult tissues and processes with early developmental origins. Enhanced dietary quality in the adult stage may, therefore, alter selection on life history and growth patterns in juvenile stages. Heliconius are unique among butterflies in actively collecting and digesting pollen grains, which provide an adult source of essential amino acids. The origin of pollen feeding has therefore previously been hypothesized to lift constraints on larval growth rates, allowing Heliconius to spend less time as larvae when they are most vulnerable to predation. By measuring larval and pupal life-history traits across three pollen-feeding and three nonpollen-feeding Heliconiini, we provide the first test of this hypothesis. Although we detect significant interspecific variation in larval and pupal development, we do not find any consistent shift associated with pollen feeding. We discuss how this result may fit with patterns of nitrogen allocation, the benefits of nitrogenous stores, and developmental limitations on growth. Our results provide a framework for studies aiming to link innovations in adult Heliconius to altered selection regimes and developmental programs in early life stages.
Evolutionary ecology, Life history ecology, Population ecology, Zoology, RESEARCH ARTICLE, RESEARCH ARTICLES, development, dietary protein, larval growth, life‐history evolution, nitrogen, nutritional trade‐off, resource allocation
NERC IRF (NE/N014936/1)
European Research Council Starter Grant (758508)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8999
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/338590