A trade-off between diapause duration and fitness in female parasitoids.

J. Ellers, J.J.M. van Alphen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    1. Diapause allows insects to cope with adverse weather conditions but also poses substantial fitness costs, e,g. through reduced survival of the diapausing stage or sublethal effects in the following season. 2. The energetic costs of diapause in females of the parasitoid Asobara tabida Nees (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) were assessed using experimental manipulation of diapause duration. 3. An increase in diapause length not only led to higher mortality among diapausing pupae but also caused a significant decrease in egg load, fat reserves, and dry weight of the emerging adult females. 4. Only larvae with sufficient resources were able to survive the entire diapause period and there was a trade-off between the metabolic costs of diapause and adult fitness components. 5. In contrast, the size (tibia length) of emerging females increased with increasing diapause duration. It is proposed that this may be due to a genetic correlation between larval dry weight and adult size, so that selection for heavier larvae would result in larger adults even when resources are limited. 6. Ultimately, the evolution of diapause duration and its consequences for adult performance will depend on the costs of overwintering and the ecological conditions in the habitat.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)279-284
    JournalEcological Entomology
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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