Acceleration of growth following a period of diet restriction may result in either complete or partial catch-up in size. The existence of such compensatory growth indicates that organisms commonly grow at rates below their physiological maxima and this implies a cost for accelerated growth. We examined patterns of accelerated growth in response to temporary resource limitation, and assayed both short and long-term costs of this growth in the ladybird beetle Harmonia axyridis. Subsequent to the period of food restriction, accelerated growth resulted in complete compensation for body sizes, although we observed greater larval mortality during the period of compensation. There were no effects on female fecundity or survivorship within 3 months of maturation. Females did not discriminate against males that had undergone compensatory growth, nor did we observe effects on male mating behaviour. However, individuals that underwent compensatory growth died significantly sooner when deprived of food late in adult life, suggesting that longer-term costs of compensatory growth may be quite mild and detectable only under stressful conditions.
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