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Host specialization involving attraction, avoidance and performance, in two phytophagous moth species

Abstract : Host specialization plays a key role in the extreme diversification of phytophagous insects. Whereas proximate mechanisms of specialization have been studied extensively, their consequences for species divergence remain unclear. Preference for, and performance on hosts are thought to be a major source of divergence in phytophagous insects. We assessed these major component of specialization in two moth species, the European corn borer (ECB) and the Adzuki bean borer (ABB), by testing their oviposition behavior in different conditions (choice or no-choice set-ups) and their performances, by reciprocal transplant at the larval stage on the usual host and an alternative host plant. We demonstrated that both ABB and ECB have a strong preference for their host plants for oviposition, but that relative larval performances on the usual host and an alternative host differed according to the experiment and the trait considered (weight or survival). Finally, we show for the first time that the preference for maize in ECB conceals a strong avoidance of mugwort. The differences in performance, attraction and avoidance between ECB and ABB are discussed in the light of the underlying mechanisms and divergence process.
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Marion Orsucci, Philippe Audiot, Alexandra Pommier, Christophe Raynaud, Beatrice Ramora, et al.. Host specialization involving attraction, avoidance and performance, in two phytophagous moth species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Wiley, 2016, 29 (1), pp.114-125. ⟨10.1111/jeb.12766⟩. ⟨hal-02631296⟩

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