Life-history theory predicts that females who experienced stressful conditions, such as larval competition or malnutrition, should increase their investment in individual offspring to increase offspring fitness (the adaptive parental hypothesis). In contrast, it has been shown that when females were reared under stressful conditions, they become smaller, which consequently decreases egg size (the parental stress hypothesis). To test whether females adjust their egg volume depending on larval competition, independent of maternal body mass constraint, we used a pest species of stored adzuki beans, Callosobruchus chinensis (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae). The eggs of females reared with competitors were smaller than those of females reared alone, supporting the parental stress hypothesis; however, correcting for female body size, females reared with competitors produced larger eggs than those reared in the absence of competition, supporting the adaptive parental hypothesis, as predicted. The phenotypic plasticity in females' investment in each offspring in stressful environments counteracts the constraint of body size on egg size.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science