Scriber, J. M. 2002. Latitudinal and local geographic mosaics in host plant preferences as shaped by thermal units and voltinism. European Journal of Entomology 99:225-239.
Laboratory and field tests support the “voltinism-suitability hypothesis” of host selection at various latitudes as well as in local “cold pockets”: The best hosts for rapid development will be selected by herbivorous insects under severe thermal constraints for completion of the generation before winter. Papilio canadensis and P. glaucus females do select the best hosts for rapid larval growth in Alaska and in southern Michigan, but not in northern Michigan and southern Ohio. In addition to latitudinal patterns, local host preferences of P. canadensis are described in relation to “phenological twisting” of leaf suitability for larval growth in cold pockets with “thermally constrained” growing season lengths. White ash leaves (Fraxinus americana) have the highest nutritional quality (relative to cherry, aspen, birch, and other local trees) throughout June and July for P. canadensis populations inside the cold pocket, but not outside. In all areas outside the cold pockets, even with bud-break occurring much later than other tree species, ash leaves rapidly decline in quality after mid-June and become one of the worse tree host species for larvae. This temperature-driven phenology difference creates a geographic mosaic in host plant suitability for herbivores. However, we also report here that the cold pocket of northern Michigan has basically disappeared since 1998. Implications of these changes are discussed in relation to voltinism and host plant selection. Various physiological and ecological adaptations to thermal unit constraints are evident with both species of naturally hybridizing butterflies (P. canadensis to the North and P. glaucus to the South). The rapid regional climate warming since 1998 in the Great Lakes region has allowed us to document some critical aspects of gene flow via analysis of independent “species-diagnostic” trait clines (including morphological, biochemical, and physiological characters). Narrower black bands on hind-wings, larger fore-wings, larval detoxification abilities for tulip tree leaves, behavioral preference of tulip tree leaves, and species-diagnostic allozymes such as PDG (x-linked) and HK (autosomal) provide evidence of these genodynamics. Laboratory hybridization studies (providing known reference groups) and field observations along the hybrid zone show that gene flow between P. glaucus and P. canadensis has recently been extensive across the historical hybrid zoneSign in to download PDF back to index