Diet and a developmental time constraint alter life-history trade-offs in a caddis fly (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae)

  • Jannot J
  • Wissinger S
  • Lucas J
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Environmental factors influence variation in life histories by affecting growth, development, and reproduction. We conducted an experiment in outdoor mesocosms to examine how diet and a time constraint on juvenile development (pond-drying) influence life-history trade-offs (growth, development, adult body mass) in the caddis fly Limnephilus externus (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). We predicted that: (1) diet supplementation would accelerate larval growth and development, and enhance survival to adulthood; (2) pond-drying would accelerate development and increase larval mortality; and (3) the relationship between adult mass and age at maturity would be negative. Diet supplementation did lead to larger adult mass under nondrying conditions, but did not significantly alter growth or development rates. Contrary to predictions, pond-drying reduced growth rates and delayed development. The slope (positive or negative) of the female mass-age at maturity relationship depended on interactions with diet or pond-drying, but the male mass-age relationship was negative and independent of treatment. Our results suggest that pond-drying can have negative effects on the future fitness of individuals by increasing the risk of desiccation-induced, pre-reproductive mortality and decreasing adult body size at maturity. These negative effects on life history cannot be overcome with additional nutritional resources in this species. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Biological

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aquatic insect
  • Desiccation
  • Growth
  • Habitat permanence
  • Metamorphosis
  • Plasticity
  • Reproduction
  • Survival

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