Reproductive senescence and dynamic oviposition behaviour in insects

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SummaryWe explore the relationship between clutch size behaviour and the likelihood of egg limitation in insects with parasitoid-like life histories. We compare the incidence of egg limitation in insects that produce clutch sizes consistent with maximizing fitness per host (i.e. the ‘single host maximum’, or Lack clutch size) with insects exhibiting two types of dynamic behaviour. In the first case, insects produce clutch sizes according to a rule that specifies a negative relationship between egg complement and clutch size; in the second case, clutch size is determined by both egg complement and the host encounter rate using a dynamic state-variable model. The analyses are an extension of models presented by Rosenheim (1996), which predicted a strong positive relationship between the risk of egg limitation and the host encounter rate in the absence of dynamic oviposition behaviour. Our results are consistent with Rosenheim's, but they show that dynamic behaviour can greatly reduce th e risk of egg limitation and weaken the relationship between the host encounter rate and egg limitation.

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