Skip to main content

Library Item

The Diapause Response of Rhagoletis pomonella to Varying Environmental Conditions and its Significance for Geographic and Host-Plant Related Adaptation


The recent shift of Rhagoletis pomonella Walsh (Diptera: Tephritidae) from its ancestral host hawthorn to apple is a model for incipient sympatric speciation in action. Previous studies have shown that changes in the over-wintering pupal diapause are critical for differentially adapting R. pomonella flies to a difference in the fruiting times of apples vs. hawthorns, generating ecologically based reproductive isolation. Here, we exposed pupae of the hawthorn race to various combinations of pre- and over-wintering rearing conditions and analyzed their effects on eclosion time and genetics. We report certain unexpected results in regards to a combination of brief pre-winter and over-wintering periods indicative of gene*environment interactions requiring a reassessment of our current understanding of R. pomonella diapause. We present a hypothesis that involves physiological factors related to stored energy reserves in pupae that influences the depth and duration of Rhagoletis diapause. This ‘pupal energy reserve’ hypothesis can account for our findings and help clarify the role host plant-related life history adaptation plays in phytophage biodiversity.