Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Organismal Biology and Ecology
Department or School/College
Division of Biological Sciences
H. Arthur Woods
Chalres Palmer, Douglas Emlen
Extended Phenotype, Holometaboly, Metamorphosis, Physiological Ecology, Pupation Chambers
University of Montana
Extended phenotypes can serve interesting physiological functions and their externality provides ready opportunity to manipulate and examine their functions and costs. One such set of extended phenotypes are below-ground pupation chambers made by a wide range of insects and whose function is unknown and costs unquantified. We use a series of lab and field experiments to examine the cost and benefit of chambers made by the hawkmoth, Manduca sexta (Sphingidae), whose larvae lose up to 60% of their body mass during chamber construction. Our study shows that these chambers provide critically important free space in which individuals transition from larvae to pupae and from pupae to adults, and that the cost of making chambers, as measured by pre-pupal mass loss, increases rapidly in dry soils. However, we found no evidence that chambers provide any benefit during metamorphosis, nor do they affect the microclimate or prevent predation by soil pathogens or predators. These results are broadly applicable to holometabolous insects and provide perhaps the most basal explanation for the evolution of complex chamber building behavior.
Sprague, Jonathan Cooley, "Costs and benefits of an extended phenotype: Chambers made by Manduca sexta larvae" (2013). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 249.
© Copyright 2013 Jonathan Cooley Sprague