Data from: Environmental and genetic control of cold tolerance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly
de Jong, Maaike A.; Saastamoinen, Marjo (2018), Data from: Environmental and genetic control of cold tolerance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h14r5
Thermal tolerance has a major effect on individual fitness and species distributions, and can be determined by genetic variation as well as phenotypic plasticity. We investigate the effects of developmental and adult thermal conditions on cold tolerance, measured as chill coma recovery (CCR) time, during the early and late adult stage in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. We also investigate the genetic basis of cold tolerance by associating CCR variation with polymorphisms in candidate genes that have a known role in insect physiology. Our results demonstrate that a cooler developmental temperature leads to reduced cold tolerance in the early adult stage, whereas cooler conditions during the adult stage lead to increased cold tolerance. This suggests that adult acclimation, but not developmental plasticity, of adult cold tolerance is adaptive. This could be explained by the ecological conditions the Glanville fritillary experiences in the field, where temperature during early summer, but not spring, is predictive of thermal conditions during the butterfly’s flight season. In addition, an amino acid polymorphism (Ala-Glu) in the gene flightin, which has a known function in insect flight and locomotion, was associated with chill coma recovery. These amino acids have distinct biochemical properties and may thus affect protein function and/or structure. To our knowledge, our study is the first to link genetic variation in flightin to cold tolerance, or thermal adaptation in general.