Density-Dependent Phase Polyphenism in Nonmodel Locusts: A Minireview
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Although the specific mechanisms of locust phase transformation are wellunderstood for model locust species such as the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria and the migratory locust Locusta migratoria, the expressions of density-dependent phase polyphenism in other nonmodel locust species are not wellknown. The present paper is an attempt to review and synthesize what we know about these nonmodel locusts. Based on all available data, I find that locust phase polyphenism is expressed in many different ways in different locust species and identify a pattern that locust species often belong to large taxonomic groups which contain mostly nonswarming grasshopper species. Although locust phase polyphenism has evolved multiple times within Acrididae, I argue that its evolution should be studied from a phylogenetic perspective because I find similar density-dependent phenotypic plasticity among closely related species. Finally, I emphasize the importance of comparative analyses in understanding the evolution of locust phase and propose a phylogeny-based research framework. © 2011 Hojun Song.
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