Effect of Body Weight on Reproductive Performance in Cnephasia jactatana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

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The larger-the-better theory predicts that fitness is positively linearly associated with body size or weight. We used the kiwifruit pest, Cnephasia jactatana Walker, to test whether larger insects perform better reproductively. We divided our insect population into three weight groups: light, average, and heavy, and assessed the reproductive performance of 9 breeding treatments (3 male weights × 3 female weights). Female fecundity is positively correlated with female body weight in low and average weight groups. There is no such correlation in the heavy weight group, suggesting that further weight increase has no fitness gain for females. The positive linear relationship between fertility and female weight in all weight groups may be attributed to the fact that permanently paired heavy females are more likely to remate, gaining more sperm and thus higher fertility. However, the previous study also indicates that mated females are less likely to be mated again when males have a choice. Therefore, in the natural environment the realized fertility may still follow an asymptotical pattern similar to the fecundity in relation to female weight. Males' beneficial effect on female reproductive outputs increases linearly with their body weight in all weight groups, indicating that male reproductive performance fits the larger-the-better theory. Fertility rate is not affected by the body weight of either sex. Heavy and average females lay eggs earlier and have higher daily fecundity and fertility than light females. Females of all weight groups have similar oviposition and postoviposition periods. Male weight and female–male weight interactions have no effect on oviposition parameters.

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