Australian Journal of Entomology (2013) 52, 403-406

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Jin Xu and Qiao Wang (2013)
Trade-off between adult body size and juvenile survival: an experimental test of parental effects in the Mediterranean flour moth
Australian Journal of Entomology 52 (4), 403-406
Abstract: The conflict between sexual and natural selections on phenotypic traits is a central concern of evolutionary biology. Body size is a key determinant of an animal's ecological and physiological properties, and one of the most important traits involved in mate choice. Selection for higher reproductive fitness may favour larger individuals, but that for survival may limit the increase of body size depending on the species and sex. Here, we used the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), as a model animal to investigate the possible trade-off between body size and survival. We show that heavier parents produced significantly heavier offspring than lighter ones, suggesting that body size may be a heritable trait in this species. The offspring produced by heavy parents had significantly lower survival rate than those by average and light parents. With the increase of body weight, males lost significantly and disproportionally more weight than females upon eclosion. However, the allometric sex-specific weight loss cannot explain the lower survival rate of heavier offspring because there was no significant difference in the survival rate between sexes across body weight spectrum. We suggest that the lower survival rate of heavier individuals may be attributed to conflicting selection forces that favour smaller size for higher survival because larger offspring usually need longer time to grow and undertake greater intraspecific competition for food and living space, resulting in higher cumulative mortality. The present study demonstrates a clear trade-off between body size and survival in E. kuehniella, suggesting that such counterbalancing selection stabilises body size increase.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website


Database assignments for author(s): Qiao Wang

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Ephestia kuehniella