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The role of life-history and ecology in the evolution of color patterns in Australian chrysomeline beetles

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Version 1 2018-01-15, 15:43
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-05, 03:58 authored by EJ Tan, CAM Reid, Matthew SymondsMatthew Symonds, JA Jurado-Rivera, MA Elgar
The variation in animal coloration patterns has evolved in response to different visual strategies for reducing the risk of predation. However, the perception of animal coloration by enemies is affected by a variety of factors, including morphology and habitat. We use the diversity of Australian chrysomeline leaf beetles to explore relationships of visual ecology to beetle morphology and color patterns. There is impressive color pattern variation within the Chrysomelinae, which is likely to reflect anti-predatory strategies. Our phylogenetic comparative analyses reveal strong selection for beetles to be less distinct from their host plants, suggesting that the beetle color patterns have a camouflage effect, rather than the widely assumed aposematic function. Beetles in dark habitats were significantly larger than beetles in bright habitats, potentially to avoid detection by predators because it is harder for large animals to be cryptic in bright habitats. Polyphagous species have greater brightness contrast against their host plants than monophagous species, highlighting the conflict between a generalist foraging strategy and the detection costs of potential predators. Host plant taxa-Eucalyptus and Acacia-interacted differently with beetle shape to predict blue pattern differences between beetle and host plant, possibly an outcome of different predator complexes on these host plants. The variety of anti-predator strategies in chrysomelines may explain their successful radiation into a variety of habitats and, ultimately, their speciation.

History

Journal

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Volume

5

Article number

ARTN 140

Pagination

1 - 15

Location

Lausanne, Switzerland

Open access

  • Yes

ISSN

2296-701X

eISSN

2296-701X

Language

English

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Tan, Reid, Symonds, Jurado-Rivera and Elgar

Issue

NOV

Publisher

FRONTIERS MEDIA SA