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Imbalance of Predator and Prey Armament: Geographic Clines in Phenotypic Interface and Natural Selection

Hirokazu Toju and Teiji Sota
The American Naturalist
Vol. 167, No. 1 (January 2006), pp. 105-117
DOI: 10.1086/498277
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/498277
Page Count: 13
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Imbalance of Predator and Prey Armament: Geographic Clines in Phenotypic Interface and Natural Selection
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Abstract

Abstract: The escalation of defensive/offensive arms is ubiquitous in prey‐predator evolutionary interactions. However, there may be a geographically varying imbalance in the armaments of participating species that affects the outcome of local interactions. In a system involving the Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica) and its obligate seed predator, the camellia weevil (Curculio camelliae), we investigated the geographic variation in physical defensive/offensive traits and that in natural selection on the plant’s defense among 17 populations over a 700‐km‐wide area in Japan. The sizes of the plant defensive apparatus (pericarp thickness) and the weevil offensive apparatus (rostrum length) clearly correlated with each other across populations. Nevertheless, the balance in armaments between the two species was geographically structured. In the populations for which the balance was relatively advantageous for the plant’s defense, natural selection on the trait was stronger because in the other populations, most plant individuals were too vulnerable to resist the attacks of the weevil, and their seeds were infested independent of pericarp thickness. We also found that the imbalance between the defensive/offensive armaments and the intensity of natural selection showed clear latitudinal clines. Overall, our results suggest that the imbalance of armament between sympatric prey and predator could determine the strength of local selection and that climatic conditions could affect the local and overall trajectory of coevolutionary arms races.

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