The considerable variation in adult size of the boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, has been well documented, but the influences of adult size on reproductive rate are not known. We examined the relationship between the size of boll weevils and their feeding and oviposition. Weevils weighed to the nearest milligram were grouped into five categories based on pupal weight: ≤5, 6–10, 11–15, 16–20, and >20 mg. Numbers of lifetime punctures produced in flower buds (squares) of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., by both sexes of adults tended to increase with pupal weight. Boll weevil females with pupal weights >10 mg produced progeny with significantly higher survival to adulthood and also produced a higher percentage of female progeny than those with pupal weights ≤10 mg. The population growth indices for females having pupal weights >10 mg averaged 1.8-fold higher than those of females weighing ≤10 mg. Survivorship of adults of both sexes also tended to increase with pupal weight. The percentage of females laying eggs on any given day averaged 2.1 times higher when their pupal weights were >10 mg than when their pupal weights were ≤10 mg. Although small size negatively affected female reproductive potential, even extremely small females produced some viable offspring. However, the penalties of small adult size, in terms of longevity and reproductive potential, suggest that cultural practices that result in the production of small adults may be used to impact weevil populations.
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Vol. 98 • No. 3