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Variation in Morphological Characters of Two Invasive Leafminers, Liriomyza huidobrensis and L. sativae, across a Tropical Elevation Gradient

By Warsito Tantowijoyo and Ary A. Hoffmann


Changes in morphological traits along elevation and latitudinal gradients in ectotherms are often interpreted in terms of the temperature-size rule, which states that the body size of organisms increases under low temperatures, and is therefore expected to increase with elevation and latitude. However other factors like host plant might contribute to spatial patterns in size as well, particularly for polyphagous insects. Here elevation patterns for trait size and shape in two leafminer species are examined, Liriomyza huidobrensis (Blanchard) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) and L. sativae Blanchard, along a tropical elevation gradient in Java, Indonesia. Adult leafminers were trapped from different locations in the mountainous area of Dieng in the province of Central Java. To separate environmental versus genetic effects, L. huidobrensis originating from 1378 m and 2129 m ASL were reared in the laboratory for five generations. Size variation along the elevation gradient was only found in L. huidobrensis and this followed expectations based on the temperature-size rule. There were also complex changes in wing shape along the gradient. Morphological differences were influenced by genetic and environmental effects. Findings are discussed within the context of adaptation to different elevations in the two species

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