Variation in compound eye structure: Effects of diet and family

Justin W. Merry, Darrell J. Kemp, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Studies of compound eyes have revealed that variation in eye structure can substantially affect visual performance. Here, we investigate the degree to which a stressful rearing environment, which decreases body size, affects the eye phenotype. Full siblings of the Orange Sulphur butterfly, Colias eurytheme, were collected from known parents and split within families among two diet treatments that varied in quality. In both sexes, individuals reared on the high-quality diet had larger eye height and anterior facet diameter, and therefore, by inference, superior vision. However, relative to their reduced body size, individuals reared on low-quality diet had proportionally larger eyes and facets than individuals reared on high-quality diet. We interpret this finding as evidence that butterflies encountering nutritional stress increased proportional investment in eye development to reduce loss of visual performance. We also found significant broad-sense genetic variation underlying eye structure in both males and females, and report novel heritability estimates for eye height and facet diameter. Surprisingly, there was greater genetic variation in eye height among males than among females, despite apparently stronger directional selection on male vision. We discuss the implications of these data for our understanding of eye development and evolution.

LanguageEnglish
Pages2098-2110
Number of pages13
JournalEvolution
Volume65
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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compound eyes
eyes
diet
Diet
nutritional adequacy
Butterflies
Body Size
butterflies
butterfly
Colias eurytheme
genetic variation
body size
effect
family
heritability
Sulfur
sulfur
rearing
phenotype
Phenotype

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Merry, Justin W. ; Kemp, Darrell J. ; Rutowski, Ronald L. / Variation in compound eye structure : Effects of diet and family. In: Evolution. 2011 ; Vol. 65, No. 7. pp. 2098-2110.
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Variation in compound eye structure : Effects of diet and family. / Merry, Justin W.; Kemp, Darrell J.; Rutowski, Ronald L.

In: Evolution, Vol. 65, No. 7, 07.2011, p. 2098-2110.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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