Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Philip Crowley


Trade-offs in resource allocation underlie key life history traits of organisms. My dissertation focuses on the size-number trade-off in clonal broods of offspring using the polyembryonic wasp, Copidosoma bakeri parasitizing immature stages of the moth Agrotis ipsilon. I aim to characterize responses of wasp brood size and individual body mass by manipulating the environments in order to understand the allocation pattern in the size number trade-off. In reviewing the functional forms of trade-off relationships in relation to resource constraints, I distinguish among three main trade-off types based on graphical representations of the relationship between the trade-off variables: linear, convex (inverse), and concave. The size-number trade-off in C. bakeri shows convex relationship. Characteristics of the trade-off are sex specific: female broods have larger body mass but smaller brood size than do male broods. When food intake of the host was increased, the trade-off between wasp body mass and brood size for both sexes shifts toward both higher wasp brood size and higher body mass. When the host has better access to food late in development, the size-number trade-off curve moves up and to the right on the graph. However, the trait combinations shift along the same trade-off curve toward greater wasp body mass but smaller brood size when the host development time is shorter due to more resources in early in development. I also investigate temperature effects on the size-number trade-off. C. bakeri brood size significantly increases with high temperature early in host development. There is no shift in the allocation pattern of the size-number trade-off with temperature. Finally, I test effects of body mass on longevity, fecundity, and mating competitiveness of C. bakeri. Larger body size increases female longevity, and mated females produce more eggs than unmated females. There are no significant relationships between male body mass and longevity or mating competitiveness. Mating reduces male longevity independent of body mass. The different impact of body mass on fitness between male and female wasps suggests the observed sex-specific allocation patterns of the size-number trade-off. Implications of the experiments and possible follow-up work are discussed.