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PubMed | Huazhong Agricultural University and Wuhan Vegetable Research Institute Wuhan
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in physiology | Year: 2016

Melanization reflects not only body color variation but also environmental plasticity. It is a strategy that helps insects adapt to environmental change. Different color morphs may have distinct life history traits, e.g., development time, growth rate, and body weight. The green slender planthopper Saccharosydne procerus (Matsumura) is the main pest of water bamboo (Zizania latifolia). This insect has two color morphs. The present study explored the influence of photoperiod and its interaction with temperature in nymph stage on adult melanism. Additionally, the longevity, fecundity, mating rate, and hatching rate of S. procerus were examined to determine whether the fitness of the insect was influenced by melanism under different temperature and photoperiod. The results showed that a greater number of melanic morphs occurred if the photoperiod was extremely long. A two-factor ANOVA showed that temperature and photoperiod both have a significant influence on melanism. The percentages of variation explained by these factors were 45.53 and 48.71%, respectively. Moreover, melanic morphs had greater advantages than non-melanic morphs under an environmental regime of high temperatures and a long photoperiod, whereas non-melanic morphs were better adapted to cold temperatures and a short photoperiod. These results cannot be explained by the thermal melanism hypothesis. Thus, it may be unavailable to seek to explain melanism in terms of only one hypothesis.

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