We tested whether reproductive tactics of a univoltine insect can be predicted by local ecology, specifically mean length of the frost free period (FFP) as a measure of the potential active season. We measured reproductive tactics and longevity for populations of the lubber grasshopper Romalea microptera (Beauvois) from Miami, Florida (FL; 365 days FFP), Lydia, Louisiana (LA; 280 days FFP), and Athens, Georgia (GA; 224 days FFP). Differences in local climate led us to predict that GA grasshoppers will have shorter interclutch intervals, fewer clutches, and shorter lifespan than FL grasshoppers, with LA grasshoppers intermediate in these traits. When reared in a common laboratory environment, longevity, total reproductive period, and number of clutches produced were not clearly related to FFP. Longevity and reproductive period of LA grasshoppers were significantly less than those of FL grasshoppers, and number of clutches produced by LA grasshoppers was less than that for the FL or GA grasshoppers. First interclutch interval was significantly greater for LA than for GA grasshoppers. Our data suggest that phylogenetic relationships among populations may be a better predictor of reproductive tactics in this species.
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