The fitness effects of a pale mutant in the aposematic seed bug Lygaeus simulans indicate pleiotropy between warning coloration and life history
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Conspicuous warning colors that signal chemical or other defenses are common in the natural world. For instance, such aposematic warning patterns of red-and-black or yellow-and-black are common among insect taxa, particularly in the order Hemiptera, often forming the basis of Batesian and/or Müllerian mimicry rings. In addition, it has been repeatedly noted that color polymorphisms or mutants that influence pigmentation can show pleiotropy with other behavioral, physiological, or life-history traits. Here, we describe a pale mutant of the seed bug Lygaeus simulans that appeared in our laboratory population in 2012, which differs in color to the wild-type bugs. Through multigenerational experimental crosses between wild-type and pale mutant L. simulans, we first show that the pale phenotype segregates as a single Mendelian locus, with the pale allele being recessive to the wild type. Next, we show (a) that there is a large heterozygous advantage in terms of fecundity, (b) that pale females suffer reduced longevity, and (c) that pale males have increased body length compared to wild-type homozygotes. Our data therefore suggest that the color locus is pleiotropic with a number of life-history traits, opening the door for a more complete genetic analysis of aposematic coloration in this species. In addition, this phenotype will be useful as a visible genetic marker, providing a tool for investigating sperm competition and other post-copulatory drivers of sexual selection in this species.
Balfour , V L , Aumont , C , Dougherty , L R & Shuker , D M 2018 , ' The fitness effects of a pale mutant in the aposematic seed bug Lygaeus simulans indicate pleiotropy between warning coloration and life history ' , Ecology and Evolution , vol. 8 , no. 24 , pp. 12855-12866 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4723
Ecology and Evolution
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionVLB is funded by a University of St Andrews PhD Apprenticeship. In addition, the authors would like to thank the University of St Andrews for funding open-access for this paper.
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