Systemic mechanisms of individual reproductive life history in female Medflies
Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 125:1, 77–87 (2004)
This paper is the second one in a series of two papers hypothesizing and testing systemic grounds of reproductive life history in the female fruit fly. In the first paper, we analyzed mechanisms of individual fecundity scheduling and have drawn the following conclusions.
1. Individual fecundity in female flies is endowed as a flat pattern with a steady-state period of a constant rate of egg-laying. An individual female reveals three stages in her adult life history: maturation, maturity, and senescence. The first stage is a transient period of achieving a steady state at maturity, which can be maintained until the senescence stage.
2. Thus, an individual fecundity pattern has no maximum. The maximums observed experimentally are averaging-caused artifacts.
3. Two natural causes of deaths exist in flies, senescence-caused ones and premature deaths, probably due to a reproductive overload.
In this paper, to confirm these findings, we use individual daily scores of egg-laying in four populations of Mediterranean fruit flies. Based on fecundity scores, we divide each Medfly population into four classes, namely zero-egg, short-, medium- and long-lived egg-layers. We demonstrate that, indeed, the three above findings definitely exist in Medflies. Our procedure allows the efficient storage of individual fecundity in parametric form, with only five numbers for each fly. Finally, this protocol will allow a more precise analysis of fecundity-energy trade-offs in flies carrying appropriate longevity mutations.