About the Journal
Eur. J. Entomol. 2002, 99(2): 127-142
The range of insect dormancy responses
Insect dormancy responses, in the broad sense of modifications of development, are examined from a general perspective. The range of responses is extraordinarily wide because environments are diverse, different taxa have different evolutionary histories, adaptations are needed for both seasonal timing and resistance to adversity, and not only development but also many other aspects of the life-cycle must be coordinated. Developmental options are illustrated by examining the wide range of ways in which development can be modified, the fact that each individual response consists of several components, and the different potential durations of the life-cycle. The concepts of alternative life-cycle pathways (chosen according to current and likely future environmental conditions) and of active and passive default responses are treated. Also introduced are aspects of variation and trade-offs.
Some general conclusions that help in understanding dormancy responses emerge from such an examination. Many options are available (cf. Table 1). The nature of the habitat, especially its predictability, determines the potential effectiveness of many of the developmental options. Any particular set of responses reflects evolutionary history and hence depends on past as well as current environments. It is not necessarily obvious what kinds of selection, especially requirements for timing versus resistance to adversity, explain a particular life cycle. Life-cycle pathways have multiple components, so that components cannot be analyzed in isolation. A given feature, such as delayed development, can have multiple roles. Default responses can be either active (development continues unless signalled otherwise) or passive (development stops unless signalled otherwise), making necessary a broad approach to understanding the action of environmental cues. Even relatively minor effects that fine-tune dormancy responses enhance survival, but may be difficult to detect or measure. Trade-offs are not inevitable, not only when certain resources are surplus, but also because resources in very short supply (constraints) cannot be traded off. Life-cycle components are widely, but not universally, coordinated. These conclusions confirm that the range of dormancy responses is wider, more complex and more integrated than has often been recognized.
AddressBiological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4, Canada; email: email@example.com
KeywordsInsect, life-cycle, development, dormancy, diapause, trade-off, constraint, variation, plasticity