Melanic frequencies in three species of moths in post industrial Britain

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Cook, L. M., Riley, A. M. and Woiwod, I. P. 2002. Melanic frequencies in three species of moths in post industrial Britain. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 75 (4), pp. 475-482.

AuthorsCook, L. M., Riley, A. M. and Woiwod, I. P.

Changing patterns of morph frequency in three moth species (Biston betularia, Odontoptera bidentata and Apocheima pilosaria) have been investigated using data from the Rothamsted Insect Survey. All three exhibited industrial melanism during the period of high atmospheric pollution in Britain. Three historical and habitat types are compared, the old industrial north of England, rural Scotland, Wales and South-West England, and a southern English intermediate region of high human population density but generally low industrialization. Between 1974 and 1999 the carbonaria morph of B. betularia declined in frequency in the industrial region and is nearly absent from rural areas. It is the form which most closely tracks atmospheric change. It is shown that the insularia forms of B. betularia and the melanic morphs in the other two species have decreased in the industrial region, commencing later than carbonaria, but have maintained their presence and possibly reached equilibrium elsewhere. They may be non-industrial polymorphisms. B. betularia is rarer than the other species and all three species are at lower densities in industrial than in non-industrial regions.

KeywordsApocheima pilosaria; Biston betularia carbonaria; gene frequency change; industrial melanism; Odontoptera bidentata; polymorphism
Year of Publication2002
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Journal citation75 (4), pp. 475-482
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
Funder project or code433
Agricultural implications of insect population dynamics and the conservation of biodiversity
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 Apr 2002
Publication process dates
Accepted30 Nov 2001
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)

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