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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Limited gene flow may enhance adaptation to local optima in isolated populations of the Roesel's bush cricket (Metrioptera roeselii)

Lundhagen, Anna; Kanuch, Peter; Low, Matthew; Berggren, Åsa

Abstract

Variation in morphological traits along latitudinal gradients often manifests as size clines. In insects, both positive and negative correlations are seen, and the mechanism behind the response is unclear. We studied variation in seven morphological traits of Roesel's bush cricket, Metrioptera roeselii, sampled from seven latitude-matched-pair populations that were either geographically isolated from or connected to the species continuous distribution range. The aim was to examine whether morphological traits differed between isolated and continuous populations, and whether latitudinal variation was apparent. The data were used to indicate whether variation in trait means originates from plastic responses to the environment or genetic adaptation to local conditions. To evaluate the influence of gene flow on trait means, we analysed the genetic variation in seven microsatellites. Data showed that individuals from isolated populations display a positive relationship between latitude and body size, whereas individuals from continuous populations show little or no such relationship. The combined morphological and genetic data suggest that the isolated populations have adapted to local optima, while gene flow between continuous populations appears to counteract this process.

Keywords

body size; climate; gene flow; isolation; latitude; Orthoptera

Published in

Journal of Evolutionary Biology
2011, Volume: 24, number: 2, pages: 381-390
Publisher: WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC