A1 Journal article (refereed)
Predator-Induced Plasticity on Warning Signal and Larval Life-History Traits of the Aposematic Wood Tiger Moth, Arctia plantaginis (2021)

Abondano Almeida, D., Mappes, J., & Gordon, S. (2021). Predator-Induced Plasticity on Warning Signal and Larval Life-History Traits of the Aposematic Wood Tiger Moth, Arctia plantaginis. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, Article 658177. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.658177

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAbondano Almeida, Diana; Mappes, Johanna; Gordon, Swanne

Journal or seriesFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution


Publication year2021

Publication date25/06/2021


Article number658177

PublisherFrontiers Media SA

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77014

Additional informationCORRECTION article : Front. Ecol. Evol., 29 July 2021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.737651


Predator-induced plasticity in life-history and antipredator traits during the larval period has been extensively studied in organisms with complex life-histories. However, it is unclear whether different levels of predation could induce warning signals in aposematic organisms. Here, we investigated whether predator-simulated handling affects warning coloration and life-history traits in the aposematic wood tiger moth larva, Arctia plantaginis. As juveniles, a larger orange patch on an otherwise black body signifies a more efficient warning signal against predators but this comes at the costs of conspicuousness and thermoregulation. Given this, one would expect that an increase in predation risk would induce flexible expression of the orange patch. Prior research in this system points to plastic effects being important as a response to environmental changes for life history traits, but we had yet to assess whether this was the case for predation risk, a key driver of this species evolution. Using a full-sib rearing design, in which individuals were reared in the presence and absence of a non-lethal simulated bird attack, we evaluated flexible responses of warning signal size (number of orange segments), growth, molting events, and development time in wood tiger moths. All measured traits except development time showed a significant response to predation. Larvae from the predation treatment developed a more melanized warning signal (smaller orange patch), reached a smaller body size, and molted more often. Our results suggest plasticity is indeed important in aposematic organisms, but in this case may be complicated by the trade-off between costly pigmentation and other life-history traits.

Keywordswarning colorationphenotypeadaptation (change)predationlife cycle (natural science)larvaeLepidopterawood tiger

Free keywordsplastic response; aposematism; melanization; coloration; Lepidoptera; larva; costs; maladaptation

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 19:40