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Genetic, morphological, and dietary changes associated with novel habitat colonisation in the Canary Island endemic grasshopper Acrostira bellamyi

AuthorsHernández-Teixidor, David ; López, Heriberto ; Nogales, Manuel ; Emerson, Brent C. ; Juan, Carlos; Oromí, Pedro
KeywordsPopulation genetics
Trophic ecology
Habitat adaptation
Island endemism
Issue DateDec-2014
CitationEcological Entomology 39(6): 703-715 (2014)
Abstract1. The large flightless grasshopper Acrostira bellamyi Uvarov, endemic to the island of La Gomera (Canary Islands), inhabits two different environments: the xeric euphorb shrubland, as is typical for congeneric Canarian species, and the humid laurel forest, a novel habitat for the genus. 2. We investigate genetic, morphological, and ecological variation among individuals of A. bellamyi from the two habitats. DNA sequence data were used to evaluate whether grasshoppers from the two environments represent distinct lineages. Morphological and trophic analyses were performed to assess phenotypic differentiation between the two different habitats. 3. Population genetic analyses support the hypothesis that the euphorb shrubland is the ancestral habitat for this species. Female laurel forest specimens are larger than those inhabiting the euphorb shrubland, and some external body parts exhibit significant morphometric differences between the two populations. Diet of shrubland individuals is completely different from that of laurel forest individuals. Although in each habitat they consume the most abundant plants, individuals are able to select food plants, which appear to be explained by their nutrient content. 4. Our results suggest that A. bellamyi has colonised laurel forest from shrubland, and that this habitat shift has resulted in genetic, morphological, and ecological changes, perhaps as an adaptation to this new habitat.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1111/een.12151
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/een.12151
issn: 0307-6946
e-issn: 1365-2311
Appears in Collections:(IPNA) Artículos
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