Influence of adult nutrition on the relationship between body size and reproductive parameters in a parasitoid wasp

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    Abstract

    1. An important constraint upon life-history evolution in parasitoids is the limit imposed by body size on allocation of limited metabolic resources to different fitness-related physiological functions such as reproduction and survival. 2. The influence of adult nutrition on reproductive and maintenance variables was studied in the synovigenic ectoparasitoid Mastrus ridibundus, and it was determined whether resource allocation to these different functions depends on body size. 3. Over the course of adult life there was a positive relationship between body size and the number of mature eggs in adult females both in the presence and absence of food. However, only in the presence of food did egg maturation rates increase significantly with body size. Starved wasps produced significantly smaller eggs than fed ones, which has not been documented before. Moreover, starved wasps produced fewer offspring than fed wasps, and attacked fewer hosts. 4. The availability of food had a major effect on longevity, with fed females living about 10 times longer than starved ones. There was also a positive relationship between body size and longevity. In starved wasps, this relationship was the same both in the presence and absence of hosts, but in fed wasps there was a positive relationship between body size and longevity in the absence of hosts only. Allocation to initial eggs relative to lifetime progeny production did not decline with body size 5. The data reveal that in M. ridibundus the trade-off between maintenance and reproduction varies with life expectancy. [KEYWORDS: Egg maturation ; egg production ; egg size ; reproductive strategies ; resource allocation ; sizefitness relationship ; synovigeny]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)571-580
    JournalEcological Entomology
    Volume30
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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