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Specialization, Speciation, and RadiationThe Evolutionary Biology of Herbivorous Insects$
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Kelley Tilmon

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251328

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251328.001.0001

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Rapid Natural and Anthropogenic Diet Evolution: Three Examples from Checkerspot Butterflies

Rapid Natural and Anthropogenic Diet Evolution: Three Examples from Checkerspot Butterflies

(p.311) Twenty-Two Rapid Natural and Anthropogenic Diet Evolution: Three Examples from Checkerspot Butterflies
Specialization, Speciation, and Radiation

Michael C. Singer

Brian Wee

Sara Hawkins

Marie Butcher

University of California Press

This chapter describes a small but unbiased sample of evolutionary changes: three evolutionary host shifts undertaken by a single butterfly species, Edith's checkerspot, Euphydryas editha. The first host shift is a straightforward and clearly anthropogenic event at Schneider's Meadow (Carson City, Nevada) triggered by the introduction of an exotic species. The second, at Rabbit Meadow (Sequoia National Forest, California) is also anthropogenic but less obviously so, since it is caused by changes in the quality and distribution of native plants. The third host shift, at Sonora Junction in California, is a natural one, in which a natural population extinction and recolonization drove an expansion of diet breadth when a previously rejected host was incorporated into the diet. These observations of host shifts were made by repeatedly censusing naturally laid eggs and larvae of E. editha at more than fifty sites. The chapter also examines the mechanics of evolution of oviposition preference at Rabbit Meadow, speed of evolution and diversity of preference, types of anthropogenic effect, and cryptically anthropogenic effects.

Keywords:   Euphydryas editha, diet, evolution, host shifts, Edith's checkerspot, Schneider's Meadow, Rabbit Meadow, Sonora Junction, anthropogenic effects, oviposition

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