Linking larval nutrition to adult reproductive traits in the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis.
Bonoan, Rachael E.
- Throughout an organism’s lifetime, resources are strategically allocated to many different functions, including reproduction. Reproduction can be costly for both sexes; females produce nutrient-rich eggs, while males of many species produce large and complex ejaculates. In capital breeding insects, nutrients are mainly acquired during the larval period, yet allocation decisions impact reproductive... read morefitness of adults. This study examines the effect of larval dietary nitrogen on both male and female reproductive traits in the European corn borer moth, Ostrinia nubilalis, whose adults do not feed and whose males transfer a large, nitrogen-rich spermatophore. Larvae were reared on three different diets (3.0%, 1.6%, or 1.1% nitrogen). Adults were mated and two experiments were done: one to measure nitrogen and carbon content of male ejaculates, and the other to determine female fecundity and fertility. Although male larval diet did not alter percent nitrogen content of adult somatic tissue, males reared on the higher nitrogen diet (3.0%) produced spermatophores with increased nitrogen relative to somatic nitrogen. Furthermore, females raised on the 3.0% nitrogen diet received spermatophores with lower C:N ratios and thus, more nitrogen. Overall, females laid more eggs as their larval dietary nitrogen increased, although they laid fewer eggs when their mates had been raised on the higher (3.0%) nitrogen diet. This suggests that O. nubilalis females may not use male-derived nitrogen to supplement egg production, but rather for somatic maintenance. Overall, this study furthers our understanding of how larval diet can affect adult fitness in Lepidoptera.read less
- Bonoan, R. E., Al-Wathiqui, N., & Lewis, S. (2015). Linking larval nutrition to adult reproductive traits in the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis. Physiological Entomology.