Polyphenism

seasonal formsseasonal polyphenismpolyphenicseasonal camouflageseasonal color changeWet-season formcontrol of gene expressionformspolyphenic traitpredator-induced polyphenism
A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions.wikipedia
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Phenotypic plasticity

plasticityplasticvery variable
It is therefore a special case of phenotypic plasticity.
The special case when differences in environment induce discrete phenotypes is termed polyphenism.

Polymorphism (biology)

polymorphismpolymorphicmorph
When polyphenic forms exist at the same time in the same panmictic (interbreeding) population they can be compared to genetic polymorphism.
The term polyphenism can be used to clarify that the different forms arise from the same genotype.

Dauer larva

dauerdauer larvaedauer stage
Some nematode worms can develop either into adults or into resting dauer larvae according to resource availability.
Since the decision to enter the dauer stage is dependent on environmental cues, it represents a classic and well studied example of polyphenism.

Arctic fox

Alopex lagopusArcticfox
Some polyphenisms are seasonal, as in some butterflies which have different patterns during the year, and some Arctic animals like the snowshoe hare and Arctic fox, which are white in winter. Birds and mammals are capable of continued physiological changes in adulthood, and some display reversible seasonal polyphenisms, such as in the Arctic fox, which becomes all white in winter as snow camouflage.
The white morph has seasonal camouflage, white in winter and brown along the back with light grey around the abdomen in summer.

Kairomone

kairomonesattracting aphid predatorschemical cue
When a polyphenism is present, an environmental cue causes the organism to develop along a separate pathway, resulting in distinct morphologies; thus, the response to the environmental cue is “all or nothing.” The nature of these environmental conditions varies greatly, and includes seasonal cues like temperature and moisture, pheromonal cues, kairomonal cues (signals released from one species that can be recognized by another), and nutritional cues.
Changes in morphology caused by predator presence is known as predator-induced polyphenism, and occurs across a variety of animals.

Snow camouflage

against snowSeasonal variation
Birds and mammals are capable of continued physiological changes in adulthood, and some display reversible seasonal polyphenisms, such as in the Arctic fox, which becomes all white in winter as snow camouflage.
Among animals, variable snow camouflage is a type of seasonal polyphenism with a distinct winter plumage or pelage.

Ant

Formicidaeantsformicid
In the case of the ant, ''P.
Genetic influences and the control of gene expression by the developmental environment are complex and the determination of caste continues to be a subject of research.

African armyworm

Spodoptera exemptaarmywormarmyworms
In Lepidoptera, African armyworm larvae exhibit one of two appearances: the gregarious or solitary phase.
The caterpillars exhibit density-dependent polyphenism where larvae raised in isolation are green, while those raised in groups are black.

Lepidoptera

lepidopteranbutterflies and mothslepidopterans
In Lepidoptera, African armyworm larvae exhibit one of two appearances: the gregarious or solitary phase.
In Lepidoptera, polymorphism can be seen not only between individuals in a population, but also between the sexes as sexual dimorphism, between geographically separated populations in geographical polymorphism, and between generations flying at different seasons of the year (seasonal polymorphism or polyphenism).

Pristionchus pacificus

P. pacificus
Among invertebrates, the nematode Pristionchus pacificus has one morph that primarily feeds on bacteria and a second morph that produces large teeth, enabling it to feed on other nematodes, including competitors for bacterial food.
elegans and most other free-living nematodes, P. pacificus'' has a polyphenism in its mouthparts that allows the nematodes to specialize on different food sources.

Phenotypic switching

dimorphicPhenotypic dimorphismswitching system
*Phenotypic switching
*Polyphenism

Phenotype

phenotypicphenotypesphenotypically
A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions.

Genotype

genotypesgenotypicgenotypically
A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions.

Snowshoe hare

Lepus americanussnowshoe rabbitRabbit
Some polyphenisms are seasonal, as in some butterflies which have different patterns during the year, and some Arctic animals like the snowshoe hare and Arctic fox, which are white in winter.

Crocodile

crocodilescrocodiliancrocodylid
For example, crocodiles possess a temperature-dependent sex determining polyphenism, where sex is the trait influenced by variations in nest temperature.

Temperature-dependent sex determination

Temperaturedepends on the nest temperaturedepends on the temperature
For example, crocodiles possess a temperature-dependent sex determining polyphenism, where sex is the trait influenced by variations in nest temperature.

Panmixia

panmicticrandom matingpanmixis
When polyphenic forms exist at the same time in the same panmictic (interbreeding) population they can be compared to genetic polymorphism.

Ontogeny

ontogeneticontogenesisdevelopment
In essence the latter is normal ontogeny where young forms can and do have different forms, colours and habits to adults.

Pheromone

pheromonespheromonalalarm pheromone
When a polyphenism is present, an environmental cue causes the organism to develop along a separate pathway, resulting in distinct morphologies; thus, the response to the environmental cue is “all or nothing.” The nature of these environmental conditions varies greatly, and includes seasonal cues like temperature and moisture, pheromonal cues, kairomonal cues (signals released from one species that can be recognized by another), and nutritional cues.

Sexual reproduction

sexuallysexualreproduce sexually
Sex-determining polyphenisms allow a species to benefit from sexual reproduction while permitting an unequal gender ratio.

Gender

gender issuessexgenders
Sex-determining polyphenisms allow a species to benefit from sexual reproduction while permitting an unequal gender ratio.

Wrasse

Labridaewrasseswrass
Population-dependent and reversible sex determination, found in animals such as the blue wrasse fish, have less potential for failure.

Larva

larvaelarvalgrubs
In the blue wrasse, only one male is found in a given territory: larvae within the territory develop into females, and adult males will not enter the same territory.

Eusociality

eusocialsocial insectssocial insect
The caste system of insects enables eusociality, the division of labor between non-breeding and breeding individuals.

Climate

climaticclimatesaverage annual temperature
This allows for control of the mating season but, like sex determination, limits the spread of the species into certain climates.