Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Exp Gerontol. 2009 Dec;44(12):805-11. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Disentangling environmental effects on adult life span in a butterfly across the metamorphic boundary.

Author information

Zoological Museum, University of Zurich, Winterthurer Str. 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Life span is a central life history trait often showing tremendous variation within populations. Much of this variation can be attributed to environmental factors. In holometabolous insects life stages differ strikingly in physiology and energetic demands, and environmental variation before and after metamorphosis may not necessarily yield identical responses. In this study, we adopted a full-factorial experimental design with two larval and two adult temperatures as well as two larval and three adult feeding treatments (n(total)=1151). Identical temperatures yielded qualitatively different results depending on the developmental stage. While the lower compared to the higher developmental temperature slightly reduced adult life span, a lower adult temperature substantially increased life span. Food stress in the larval stage slightly reduced life span, as did food stress during the adult stage. Females lived generally longer than males. All factors investigated were involved in interactions with other factors, both within and across life stages. For instance, the qualitative impact of larval food stress depended on adult feeding treatment and adult temperature. Our results suggest that much insight into the causes of variation in life span is to be gained by explicitly considering environmental impacts across developmental stages and potential interactions among different environmental factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center