Predicting host range evolution: colonization of Coronilla varia by Colias philodice (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)

TitlePredicting host range evolution: colonization of Coronilla varia by Colias philodice (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsKarowe DN
JournalEvolution
Volume44
Issue6
Pagination1637-1647
KeywordsSURVIVAL
Abstract

Extensive sympatry is currently arising between the common sulfur butterfly, Colias philodice Latreille (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) and a potential leguminous host plant, Coronilla varia (L.). In laboratory trials, larval survivorship and growth were higher on the primary host, Medicago sativa (L.), than on the nonhost C. varia. However, because females reared from C. varia were on average more fecund than females reared from M. sativa, fitness on C. varia (approximately as survivorship time fecundity) was commensurate with fitness on M. sativa. Thus, it is predicted that selection would favor oviposition on C. varia, if such behavior were to arise. In addition, significant among-family variation exists for several measures of larval performance on both C. varia and M. sativa, indicating that C. philodice can potentially respond to selection for increased performance on each species. Moreover, larval performance was significantly positively correlated across these species, suggesting that selection for increased performance on each species will facilitate, not constrain, evolution of increased performance on the other. It is concluded that behavioral rather than physiological barriers currently account for the absence of C. philodice from C. varia and that, if such barriers are overcome, C. philodice will expnad its host plant range to include C. varia.