Melanism and disease resistance in insects

Wilson, K., Cotter, S. C., Reeson, A. F. and Pell, J. K. (2001) Melanism and disease resistance in insects. Ecology Letters, 4 (6). pp. 637-649. ISSN 1461-023X

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There is growing evidence that insects in high-density populations invest relatively more in pathogen resistance than those in low-density populations (i.e. density-dependent prophylaxis). Such increases in resistance are often accompanied by cuticular melanism, which is characteristic of the high-density form of many phase polyphenic insects. Both melanism and pathogen resistance involve the prophenoloxidase enzyme system. In this paper the link between resistance, melanism and phenoloxidase activity is examined in Spodoptera larvae. In S. exempta, cuticular melanism was positively correlated with phenoloxidase activity in the cuticle, haemolymph and midgut. Melanic S. exempta larvae
were found to melanize a greater proportion of eggs of the ectoparasitoid Euplectrus laphygmae than non-melanic larvae, and melanic S. littoralis were more resistant to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (in S. exempta the association between melanism and fungal resistance was non-sign®cant). These results strengthen the link between melanism and disease resistance and implicate the involvement of phenoloxidase.

Keywords:phase polyphenism, Density-dependent prophylaxis, parasitoid, melanism, fungal pathogen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C550 Immunology
C Biological Sciences > C360 Pest Science
C Biological Sciences > C111 Parasitology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C150 Environmental Biology
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:15929
Deposited On:04 Nov 2014 09:34

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