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1 August 2007 Effects of Maternal Age and Environment on Offspring Vital Rates in the Oleander Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
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Maternal effects have the potential to affect population dynamics and evolution. To affect population dynamics, maternal effects must influence offspring vital rates (birth, death, or movement). Here, we explore the magnitude of nongenetic maternal influence on the vital rates of an insect herbivore and explore predictability of maternal effects with reference to published studies. We experimentally studied the effects of maternal age, host plant species (two Asclepias spp.), and density on offspring vital rates in Aphis nerii, the oleander aphid. Older mothers produced offspring that lived shorter lives, consistent with the “Lansing Effect.” Older mothers also produced offspring that matured at a younger age. As maternal age increased, offspring mass at maturity decreased when mothers were on Asclepias syriaca. However, offspring mass was highest from intermediate aged mothers on A. viridis. The absence of maternal density effects seems to exclude maternal density as a potential source of delayed density dependence in A. nerii. Our results indicate that maternal effects have some influence on A. nerii vital rates. However, references to published studies suggest that only the Lansing Effect is a predictable response to maternal age in insects. Moreover, the magnitude of observed effects was generally low.
Caralyn B. Zehnder, Melissa A. Parris and Mark D. Hunter "Effects of Maternal Age and Environment on Offspring Vital Rates in the Oleander Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae)," Environmental Entomology 36(4), (1 August 2007).[910:EOMAAE]2.0.CO;2
Received: 26 February 2007; Accepted: 25 April 2007; Published: 1 August 2007

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