Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 343–353

Physiological costs of growing fast: does accelerated growth reduce pay-off in adult fitness?


    • Department of Animal Ecology IUniversity of Bayreuth
  • Ilja Zeilstra
    • Department of Animal Ecology IUniversity of Bayreuth
  • Stefan K. Hetz
    • Department of Animal PhysiologyHumboldt University
  • Konrad Fiedler
    • Department of Animal Ecology IUniversity of Bayreuth
Research article

DOI: 10.1007/s10682-004-2004-3

Cite this article as:
Fischer, K., Zeilstra, I., Hetz, S.K. et al. Evol Ecol (2005) 18: 343. doi:10.1007/s10682-004-2004-3


Accumulating evidence suggests that, in contrast to earlier assumptions, juvenile growth rates are optimised by means of natural and sexual selection rather than maximised to be as fast as possible. Owing to the generally accepted advantage of growing fast to adulthood, such adaptive variation strongly implies the existence of costs attached to rapid growth. By using four populations of protandrous copper butterflies with known differences in intrinsic growth rates within and across populations, we investigate a potential trade-off between rapid growth and the proportionate weight loss at metamorphosis. While controlling for effects of pupal time and mass, we demonstrate that (1) protandrous males, exhibiting higher growth rates, suffer a higher weight loss than females throughout, that (2) population differences in weight loss generally follow known differences in growth rates, and that (3) males have by 6 higher metabolic rates than females during pupal development. These results support the notion that a higher weight loss during the development to adulthood may comprise a physiological cost of rapid development, with the pay-off of accelerated growth being reduced by a disproportionally smaller adult size

Key words:

growth rateLepidopteralife-history traitmetabolic ratetrade-off

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004