Canadian Forest Service Publications

The biosynthesis of juvenile hormone, its degradation and titres in females of the true armyworm: a comparison of migratory and non-migratory populations. 2000. McNeil, J.N.; Miller, D.; Laforge, M.; Cusson, M. Physiological Entomology 25: 103-111.

Year: 2000

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 20486

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


In a previous study [McNeil et al. (1996) Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, 32, 575-584], patterns of sexual maturation and Juvenile Hormone (JH) biosynthesis were compared in virgin females from migratory (North American) and non-migratory (Azorean) populations of the true armyworm moth, Pseudaletia unipuncta Haworth (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Sexual matural occurred at a significantly earlier age after emergence in the non-migrant population, and the rates of biosynthesis of JH in vitro suggested that lower titres of JH may be required to initiate the onset of calling behaviour (pheromone emission) and ovarian development in Azorean females. To examine the physiological differences in the reproductive biology of migratory and non-migratory populations in greater detail, the haemolymph titres of JH and JH esterase activity were compared in virgin females as a function of age. In addition, the effects of mating on JH biosynthesis in vitro, JH titres, JH esterase activity and egg production were measured in the two populations. As expected, JH titres rose more rapidly after emergence in Azorean females than in their North American counterparts but, contrary to our prediction, the maximum levels were also higher in the non-migrant population. Activity of JH esterase was much higher in Azorean females onthe day of emergence. However, by the second day both populations had similar activity levels (about 17 nmol JH/min/ml) and exhibited a similar age-related decline in subsequent days. Mating did not affect the rate of JH biosynthesis in vitro but resulted in a significant increase in the titres of JH in the haemolymph of both populations. The maximum titre (a five-fold increase) occurred within 24 h of mating in Azorean females. In North American individuals the increase was greater (seven-fold) but did not occur until 48 h after mating. No difference in the activity of JH esterase was observed between mated and virgin North American females. By contrast, while there was an age-related decline in the activity of JH esterase in mated Azorean females, as seen in both North American groups, activity levels in virgin females remained constant with age. In all females, mating resulted in a significant increase in egg production within 24 h. The Azores is a volcanic archipelago, so these non-migratory populations were probably founded by immigrants originating from migratory continental populations. It is clear from our results that the change from a life history that includes migration to a non-migratory one involved more that just a temporal shift in the timing of the production of JH. Furthermore, the interpopulation differences in titres of JH and mating-induced changes reported here cannot be fully explained by the observed differences in the patterns of activity of JH esterase and JH biosynthesis in vitro.

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