A steep cline in ladybird melanism has decayed over 25 years: a genetic response to climate change?

P.M. Brakefield, P.W. de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A cline in the frequency of melanic morphs of the two-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata, was first surveyed in 1980 along a transect extending inland from the coast in the Netherlands. At that time, the frequency of melanics increased over some 40 km from 10% near the coast to nearly 60% inland. Additional surveys made in 1991 and 1995 demonstrated some progressive change in cline shape. New samples from 1998 and 2004 confirm these dynamics, and show that over a period of about 50 generations for the beetle, the cline had decayed rapidly to yield rather uniform frequencies of melanic morphs at around 20% along the whole transect by 2004. Climate data and evidence for thermal melanism in this species support our contention that these dynamics reflect a dramatic example of a rapid genetic response within populations to climate change and local selection. Heredity (2011) 107, 574-578; doi:10.1038/hdy.2011.49; published online 27 July 2011
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-578
JournalHeredity
Volume107
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • adalia-bipunctata
  • 2-spot ladybird
  • phenology
  • temperature
  • netherlands
  • synchrony

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