Title

Recognition of host-specific chemical stimulants in two sympatric host races of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2003

Abstract

1. In ecological speciation, adaptation to variation in the external environment provides the crucial push that starts the process of genetic divergence and eventually leads to speciation. This emphasis on the role of ecological specialisation in speciation events has brought with it a renewed interest in its proximate mechanisms in recently diverged groups such as host races. Here, the proximate mechanisms of feeding specialisation are investigated in two host races of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. 2. Using alfalfa and clover extracts, enclosed in diet chambers or applied on whole plants, it is shown that feeding specialisation depends on recognition of stimulants specific to the host plant, not on deterrents or toxins specific to the non-host plants. 3. Because pea aphids mate on their host plant, feeding specialisation leads to de facto assortative mating. This study suggests that behavioural recognition of host-specific chemicals, rather than avoidance of deterrents or/and plant toxins, contributes to gene flow restriction between the alfalfa and clover host races.

Publication Name

Ecological Entomology

Volume Number

28

First Page

405

Last Page

412

Issue Number

4

DOI

10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00524.x

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