Gamete production and sexual dimorphism in an insect (Orchesella cincta) with indeterminate growth.

G. Ernsting, J.A. Isaaks

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    1. The relationship of growth and body size with reproductive effort in animal species has been studied much less for males than for females. This imbalance applies to Orchesella cincta (L.) (Collembola), an insect with indeterminate growth, in which egg production is related positively to body size and negatively to growth. 2. To allow a comparison of the reproductive effort of male and female O. cincta, development and growth in immature stages of both sexes, and growth and spermatophore production for adult males were studied. 3. Embryonic development time and hatchling size did not differ between prospective males and females, but from hatching on the trajectories diverged, with males growing more slowly and maturing earlier and at a much smaller body size than females. 4. Neither the number of spermatophores deposited in the first adult instar (= inter-moult period) nor the total number of spermatophores deposited during seven instars was related to body size or growth. 5. Differences in growth rate between instars with and without spermatophore deposition indicated that the physiology of spermatophore production inhibits growth, which, however, was compensated for during the next instar. 6. The difference in the relationship of gamete production with body size and growth between males and females explains the divergence of their size at maturity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-151
    JournalEcological Entomology
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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