Previous studies have postulated that the quality of resources that female gypsy moths, Lymantria dispar (L.), allocate to their eggs may affect the growth, development, and population dynamics of larvae in subsequent generations. To test this hypothesis, we collected eggs from food stressed and unstressed populations and measured critical life history parameters (e.g., dispersal, growth rate, mortality, fecundity) of gypsy moth larvae with a combination of field and laboratory experiments. Larvae from stressed and unstressed source populations showed no differences in overall dispersal, mortality from pathogens and parasitoids, or developmental rate. In smaller laboratory and field rearing studies, there were no significant differences in the relative growth rates, female pupal weights, or fecundity between larvae from stressed and unstressed populations. However, we found that the proportion of males in egg masses from stressed populations were 11% higher than those from unstressed populations. In addition, there was a significant relationship between egg mass size and proportion of males in one of 2 yr of the study. We conclude that nutritionally mediated maternal effects have a relatively minor influence on the population dynamics of the gypsy moth.
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