Publication details.


Author(s):H. López, S. Hervías-Parejo, E. Morales, S. De La Cruz, M. Nogales
Title:Interpopulation plasticity in a darkling beetle life-history along a whole oceanic island altitudinal gradient
JCR Impact Factor:3.139
Issue No.:12
Abstract:© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Insects show remarkable phenotypic plasticity in response to changing environmental conditions. The abiotic factors that determine their phenotypes often vary in time and space, and oceanic islands harbour ideal environments for testing predictions on this matter. The ubiquitous beetle Pimelia laevigata costipennis Wollaston, 1864 (Tenebrionidae) is distributed over the entire altitudinal gradient of the island El Hierro (Canary archipelago), from 0 to 1501 m above sea level. Here, we examine how environmental factors (i.e., rainfall and temperature), associated with the altitudinal gradient, affect the body size, reproductive phenology, clutch size and egg volume, and population dynamics of this ectothermic flightless insect. Pimelia l. costipennis populations inhabiting upland localities, typified by lower temperatures, and greater precipitation and vegetation cover, were larger in body size and laid larger clutches with smaller eggs than those in the lowlands. Moreover, reproduction occurred earlier in the year at lower sites and later at higher sites, whereas activity density was highest in the uplands where it increases with temperature. This study first explores the changes in life history patterns along a whole insular altitudinal gradient, and finds interpopulation plasticity. It confirms that environmental factors associated with species spatial distribution act additively as drivers of phenological and phenotypic expression.

Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research