Plant chemistry and local adaptation of a specialized folivore.
Laukkanen L., Leimu R., Muola A., Lilley M., Salminen J-P., Mutikainen P.
Local adaptation is central for creating and maintaining spatial variation in plant-herbivore interactions. Short-lived insect herbivores feeding on long-lived plants are likely to adapt to their local host plants, because of their short generation time, poor dispersal, and geographically varying selection due to variation in plant defences. In a reciprocal feeding trial, we investigated the impact of geographic variation in plant secondary chemistry of a long-lived plant, Vincetoxicum hirundinaria, on among-population variation in local adaptation of a specialist leaf-feeding herbivore, Abrostola asclepiadis. The occurrence and degree of local adaptation varied among populations. This variation correlated with qualitative and quantitative differences in plant chemistry among the plant populations. These findings provide insights into the mechanisms driving variation in local adaptation in this specialized plant-herbivore interaction.