Translator Disclaimer
1 December 2005 Phylogenetic perspectives on the evolution of locust phase polyphenism
Author Affiliations +

Locust phase polyphenism is a spectacular example of density-dependent phenotypic plasticity. It is generally interpreted as an adaptation to heterogeneous environmental conditions brought on by high population density. However, several nonlocust species are known to express phase-like traits, which is difficult to explain from an adaptive perspective alone. Here I attempt to explain this phenomenon by 1) taking a reaction norm perspective in understanding the mechanisms underlying locust phase and 2) taking a phylogenetic perspective to study how individual reaction norms of locust phase might have evolved. I argue that locust phase polyphenism is a complex syndrome resulting from interactions among different density-dependent plastic reaction norms, each of which can follow a separate evolutionary trajectory, which in turn can be reflected in a phylogeny. Using a phylogeny of Cyrtacanthacridinae (Orthoptera: Acrididae), I explore the evolution of plasticity in density-dependent color change. I demonstrate that locusts and closely related nonlocusts, express similar phenotypic plasticity due to phylogenetic conservatism. Finally, I argue that it is crucial to study the evolution of locust phase polyphenism from both adaptive and phylogenetic perspectives.

Hojun Song "Phylogenetic perspectives on the evolution of locust phase polyphenism," Journal of Orthoptera Research 14(2), 235-245, (1 December 2005).[235:PPOTEO]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 December 2005

Back to Top