We studied whether adaptation of the Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), to plant resistance incurs fitness costs. In this gene-for-gene interaction, adaptation to a single H resistance gene occurs via loss of a single effector encoded by an Avirulence gene. By losing the effector, the adapted larva now survives on the H gene plant, presumably because it evades the plant's H gene-mediated surveillance system. The problem is the Hessian fly larva needs its effectors for colonization. Thus, for adapted individuals, there may be a cost for losing the effector, with this then creating a trade-off between surviving on H-resistant plants and growing on plants that lack H genes. In two different tests, we used wheat lacking H genes to compare the survival and growth of a nonadapted strain to two H-adapted strains. The two adapted strains differed in that one had been selected for adaptation to H9, whereas the other strain had been selected for adaptation to H13. Tests showed that two H-adapted strains were similar to the nonadapted strain in egg-to-adult survival but that they differed in producing adults with smaller wings. By using known relationships between wing length and reproductive potential, we found that losses in wing length underestimate losses in reproductive potential. For example, H9- and H13-adapted females had 9 and 3% wing losses, respectively, but they were estimated to have 32 and 12% losses in egg production. Fitness costs of adaptation will be investigated further via selection experiments comparing Avirulence allele frequencies for Hessian fly populations exposed or not exposed to H genes.
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Vol. 104 • No. 3