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Geographic Variation in Life-History Traits of the Ant Lion, Myrmeleon immaculatus: Evolutionary Implications of Bergmann's Rule

Amy E. Arnett and Nicholas J. Gotelli
Evolution
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1180-1188
DOI: 10.2307/2640821
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640821
Page Count: 9
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Geographic Variation in Life-History Traits of the Ant Lion, Myrmeleon immaculatus: Evolutionary Implications of Bergmann's Rule
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Abstract

In eastern North America, body size of the larval ant lion Myrmeleon immaculatus increases from south to north, following Bergmann's rule. We used a common-garden experiment and a reciprocal-transplant experiment to evaluate the effects of food and temperature on ant lion growth, body size, and survivorship. In the laboratory common-garden experiment, first-instar larvae from two southern (Georgia, South Carolina) and two northern (Connecticut, Rhode Island) populations were reared in incubators under high- and low-food and high- and low-temperature regimes. For all populations, high food increased final body mass and growth rate and decreased development time. Growth rates were higher at low temperatures, but temperature did not affect larval or adult body mass. Survivorship was highest in high-food and low-temperature treatments. Across all food and temperature treatments, northern populations exhibited a larger final body mass, shorter development time, faster growth rate, and greater survivorship than did southern populations. Results were similar for a field reciprocal-transplant experiment of third-instar larvae between populations in Connecticut and Oklahoma: Connecticut larvae grew faster than Oklahoma larvae, regardless of transplant site. Conversely, larvae transplanted to Oklahoma grew faster than larvae transplanted to Connecticut, regardless of population source. These results suggest that variation in food availability, not temperature, may account for differences in growth and body size of northern and southern ant lions. Although northern larvae grew faster and reached a larger body size in both experiments, northern environments should suppress growth because of reduced food availability and a limited growing season. This study provides the first example of countergradient selection causing Bergmann's rule in an ectotherm.

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