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Fat and Eggs: an Alternative Method To Measure the Trade-Off Between Survival and Reproduction in Insect Parasitoids

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The cost of reproduction, a trade-off between reproduction and survival, is important in life history study. In parasitoids this trade-off is studied by measuring number of offspring and longevity. Measuring longevity, however, is a time consuming method and probably does not reflect a realistic value for survival in the field. I present an alternative method, which uses fat content as a measure for survival. Using the insect parasitoid Asobara tabida (Nees) (Hymenoptera), I show in two ways that fat content is strongly correlated to longevity. Firstly, strains with a higher fat content have a greater longevity. Secondly, fat reserves decrease linearly with age. The trade-off between reproduction and survival can be studied using this method. There is a negative correlation between the number of eggs in the ovarioles and the fat content of A. tabida females. This indicates that there is a cost of reproduction in A. tabida. The most important advantage of this method is that measuring fat content is a quick method. This method may also be applied to other insect species.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, P.O. Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

10.1163/156854295X00186
/content/journals/10.1163/156854295x00186
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/content/journals/10.1163/156854295x00186
1995-01-01
2016-12-11

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