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Small body size in an insect shifts development, prior to adult eclosion, towards early reproduction

Thorne, A D, Pexton, J J, Dytham, C (orcid.org/0000-0002-4111-9484) and Mayhew, P J (orcid.org/0000-0002-7346-6560) (2006) Small body size in an insect shifts development, prior to adult eclosion, towards early reproduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. pp. 1099-1103. ISSN 1471-2954

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Life-history theory has suggested that individual body size can strongly affect the allocation of resources to reproduction and away from other traits such as survival. In many insects, adults eclose with a proportion of their potential lifetime egg production that is already mature (the ovigeny index). We establish for the solitary parasitoid wasp Aphaereta genevensis that the ovigeny index decreases with adult body size, despite both initial egg load and potential lifetime fecundity increasing with body size. This outcome is predicted by adaptive models and is the first unequivocal intraspecific demonstration. Evidence suggests that a high ovigeny index carries a cost of reduced longevity in insects. Our results therefore contribute to the emerging evidence that small body size can favour a developmental shift in juveniles that favours early reproduction, but which has adverse late-life consequences. These findings are likely to have important implications for developmental biologists and population biologists.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 The Royal Society
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Biology (York)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2016 23:01
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3416
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1279

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