Adaptation of a generalist moth, Operophtera brumata, to variable budburst phenology of host plants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The adaptation of three allopatric populations of a generalist moth, Operophtera brumata (L.), on two tree species, Prunus padus (L.) and Quercus robur (L.) which represent the extremes of the timing of budburst in spring, was studied in Finland and Sweden. The synchrony of the hatching and budbursting was monitored, and its importance to dispersal and growth of larvae was assessed by rearing cohorts of larvae, whose hatching dates were manipulated, on both hosts. In addition, the realised heritability of the hatching time was estimated. Experimental populations hatched in approximate synchrony with the budburst of their original host species. As a result of the manipulation of the hatching dates of larvae, the growth rates of larvae decreased and the dispersal rates increased on both hosts in relation to the ageing of foliage. The realised heritability of hatching times was rather high (0.63). There were fewer differences in the host use efficiency and behaviour of the experimental populations than in the hatching phenology. The synchrony of hatching with the budburst of the local dominant host plant is probably a result of stabilising selection.


  • OP Tikkanen
  • Päivi Lyytikäinen-Saarenmaa
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • synchrony, phenological, Operophtera brumata, insect herbivory, host adaptation, plant phenology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Ecology (Closed 2011) (011006010)