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Parental crowding influences life-history traits in Locusta migratoria females

  • M.-P. Chapuis (a1) (a2) (a3), L. Crespin (a1), A. Estoup (a1), A. Augé-Sabatier (a1), A. Foucart (a3), M. Lecoq (a3) and Y. Michalakis (a2)...

Parental environments could play an important role in controlling insect outbreaks, provided they influence changes in physiological, developmental or behavioural life-history traits related to fluctuations in population density. However, the potential implication of parental influence in density-related changes in life-history traits remains unclear in many insects that exhibit fluctuating population dynamics, particularly locusts. In this study, we report a laboratory experiment, which enabled us to characterize the life-history trait modifications induced by parental crowding of female individuals from a frequently outbreaking population of Locusta migratoria (Linnaeus) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). We found that a rearing history of crowding led to reduced female oviposition times and increased offspring size but did not affect the developmental time, survival, fecundity, and the sex-ratio and the number of offspring. Because all studied females were raised in a common environment (isolation conditions), these observed reproductive differences are due to trans-generational effects induced by density. We discuss the ecological and evolutionary implications of the observed density-dependent parental effects on the life-history of L. migratoria.

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