Contributions of juvenile and adult diet to the lifetime reproductive success and lifespan of a spider

5 May 2014

Kleinteich, Anja; Wilder, Shawn; Schneider, Jutta

Food availability can vary widely for animals in nature and can have large effects on growth, reproduction and survival. While the consequences of food limitation for animals have been extensively studied, significant questions still remain including how ontogenetic variation in food availability contributes to lifetime reproductive success. We tested the effects of juvenile and adult food limitation on the lifetime reproductive success and lifespan of bridge spiders, Larinioides sclopetarius. Food availability was manipulated (low or high) over the entire juvenile and adult stage in a full-factorial design and reproductive output and lifespan were measured. Juvenile and adult food limitation both reduced lifetime egg and hatchling production with effect sizes that were not significantly different from each other. Unlike some other arthropods, where juvenile food limitation reduces fecundity by reducing adult body size, body size was not affected by juvenile diet in bridge spiders. Clutch size was also significantly reduced by both juvenile and adult food limitation. The effect of adult diet on clutch size was stronger than that of juvenile diet. Juvenile and adult food limitation both extended total lifespan, and adult food limitation extended adult longevity (i.e., time from maturation to death). However, juvenile food limitation decreased adult longevity, in contrast to what would be predicted by dietary or caloric restriction. Compensatory feeding and growth are widely recognized mechanisms through which animals can ameliorate some of the negative effects of periods of food limitation. Yet our results combined with studies of a range of other species suggest that there may be lasting consequences of juvenile food limitation on lifetime reproductive success that cannot be compensated for by adult feeding in some species.

doi: 10.1111/oik.01421