Pre-wintering conditions and post-winter performance in a solitary bee: Does diapause impose an energetic cost on reproductive success?

Fabio Sgolastra, Xavier Arnan, Theresa L. Pitts-Singer, Stefano Maini, William P. Kemp, Jordi Bosch

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    © 2016 The Royal Entomological Society. 1. Diapause is a dynamic process of low metabolic activity that allows insects to survive periods of harsh conditions. Notwithstanding the lowered metabolism, and because diapausing insects have no access to food, diapause has an energetic cost that may affect post-diapause performance. 2. Previous studies on the solitary bee Osmia lignaria have shown that prolonged pre-wintering periods (the time during which individuals already in diapause remain at warm temperatures) are associated with elevated lipid consumption, fat body depletion, and body weight loss. The present study investigated whether prolonged pre-wintering also affects reproduction, i.e. whether the costs associated with diapause could have an effect on post-diapause performance in this species. 3. Females were exposed to a range of pre-wintering conditions, and ovary development and individual post-wintering performance were monitored throughout their adult life span. 4. No evidence of an effect of pre-wintering duration on post-diapause reproductive success was found. Expected differences in the timing of establishment were not observed because ovary maturation was, surprisingly, not arrested during pre-wintering. Prolonged pre-wintering duration did not result in decreased life span, probably because emerging females could rapidly replenish their metabolic reserves through feeding. However, there was a very strong effect of the duration of the pre-emergence period on the likelihood of nest establishment. 5. Longevity, the main factor determining fecundity in Osmia, is subjected to high levels of intrinsic variability, even among females of similar size exposed to identical conditions during development and nesting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)201-210
    JournalEcological Entomology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


    • Fecundity
    • Fitness
    • Life span
    • Longevity
    • Osmia lignaria
    • Ovary maturation
    • Parental investment
    • Sex ratio


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