Reproductive characteristics of a northeastern Kansas population of the fritillary Speyeria idalia (Drury) were studied. Hemolymph juvenile hormone (JH) titers, ovarian development, and fat body utilization were monitored weekly in adult females over their entire 1997 flight period, which extended from mid-June to early October. Dissections of female reproductive systems revealed that S. idalia females mate just once, soon after they emerge in mid- to late June. Gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric determinations of juvenile hormone suggested that they undergo a reproductive diapause through mid-August related to the absence of or very low titers of juvenile hormone. Oogenesis and fat body depletion do not commence until late August/early September, soon after which oviposition occurs. The onset of oogenesis coincides with a rapid rise in hemolymph titers of JH I, JH II, and JH III. The predominant juvenile hormone homolog was JH II, but both JH I and JH III exhibited smaller, concomitant peaks. Four fundamentally different lepidopteran reproductive strategies have been recognized based on various reproductive characteristics and the type of gonadotropic hormones used to stimulate oogenesis. Speyeria idalia exhibits a type of reproductive strategy that has not been documented in Lepidoptera, typified by protandry, female monandry, long-lived (>8 wk) females that feed throughout their adult lives, greatly delayed oogenesis that occurs late in adult life, and apparent juvenile hormone control of gonadotropic processes. This reproductive strategy appears to be an adaptation to the phenology of larval host plants, namely coordinating the life cycle with that of the seasonally restricted violets on which larval survival of this monophagous species depends.
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