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Correlation between photoperiod and development rate in the damselfly Lestes sponsa (Hansemann): A compensating mechanism across latitudes?
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Although there is much theoretical and empirical data about the life history responses of time constrained organisms, little is known about the latitude compensating mechanism that enables northern populations’ developmental rates to compensate for latitude. To investigate the importance of photoperiod on development and growth, I collected adults and raised the offspring of the obligatory univoltine damselfly Lestes sponsa from two populations at different latitudes (53º N and 63º N). The offspring were raised in a common laboratory environment at 21º C and at the two photoperiods corresponding to the sites of collection. Field data showed that adult and egg sizes decreased towards the higher latitude. This adult size difference was a genetically fixed trait since the same size difference between populations was also found when larvae where reared in the laboratory. All studied individuals expressed shorter development time and faster growth rates under northern photoperiod regimes. Northern damselflies showed fixed body size and mass at emergence despite being reared at different photoperiod conditions. Similarly, southern individuals kept body size at emergence constant at both photoregimes, but overcompensated shorter development time in the northern photoregime by gaining higher body mass than in original,southern photoregime. There was no difference in hatching synchronisation between larvae from the south and the north. I found evidence of higher synchrony at adult emergence among northern individuals. The previous investigation of L. sponsa phenology in natural conditions together with these laboratory results indicate the presence of the latitude compensating mechanism that is triggered by a response to photoperiod. A positive correlation between photoperiod and developmental rate in this damselfly, and probably in many other temperate insect species, might be adaptive since it optimises the life history stage transitions and body size/mass at each latitude.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 30 p.
Keyword [en]
development insects aquatic ecology
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30010OAI: diva2:278889
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2009-12-02 Created: 2009-11-30 Last updated: 2010-07-07Bibliographically approved

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