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Oecologia. 2012 May;169(1):125-33. doi: 10.1007/s00442-011-2189-4. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Ecotypic differentiation between urban and rural populations of the grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus relative to climate and habitat fragmentation.

Author information

1
Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. gilles.sanmartin@gmail.com

Abstract

Urbanization alters environmental conditions in multiple ways and offers an ecological or evolutionary challenge for organisms to cope with. Urban areas typically have a warmer climate and strongly fragmented herbaceous vegetation; the urban landscape matrix is often assumed to be hostile for many organisms. Here, we addressed the issue of evolutionary differentiation between urban and rural populations of an ectotherm insect, the grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus. We compared mobility-related morphology and climate-related life history traits measured on the first generation offspring of grasshoppers from urban and rural populations reared in a common garden laboratory experiment. We predicted (1) the urban phenotype to be more mobile (i.e., lower mass allocation to the abdomen, longer relative femur and wing lengths) than the rural phenotype; (2) the urban phenotype to be more warm adapted (e.g., higher female body mass); and (3) further evidence of local adaptation in the form of significant interaction effects between landscape of origin and breeding temperature. Both males and females of urban origin had significantly longer relative femur and wing lengths and lower mass allocation to the abdomen (i.e., higher investment in thorax and flight muscles) relative to individuals of rural origin. The results were overall significant but small (2-4%). Body mass and larval growth rate were much higher (+10%) in females of urban origin. For the life history traits, we did not find evidence for significant interaction effects between the landscape of origin and the two breeding temperatures. Our results point to ecotypic differentiation with urbanization for mobility-related morphology and climate-related life history traits. We argue that the warmer urban environment has an indirect effect through longer growth season rather than direct effects on the development.

PMID:
22108853
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-011-2189-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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