Consequences of rapid development due to cohort splitting: just how costly is to hurry? [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

Zoltan Radai, Johanna Kiss, Agnieszka Babczynska, Gabor Kardos, Ferenc Bathori, Ferenc Samu, and Zoltan Barta

In cohort splitting diverging sub-cohorts may show substantial differences in their growth and developmental rates. Although in the past causes and adaptive value of cohort splitting were studied in detail, individual-level consequences of cohort splitting are still rather overlooked. Life history theory predicts that considerably increased growth and developmental rates should be traded off against other costly life history traits. However, it is not clear whether one should expect such associations in adaptive developmental plasticity scenarios, because natural selection might have promoted genotypes that mitigate those potential costs of rapid development. To address these contrasting propositions, we assessed life history traits in the wolf spider Pardosa agrestis, both collected from natural habitat and reared in laboratory. We found that some traits are negatively associated with developmental rates in spiders collected from nature, but these associations were relaxed to a considerable extent in laboratory reared specimens. In general, we observed no consistent trend for the presence of developmental costs, although some results might suggest higher relative fecundity costs in rapidly developing females. Our study provides a detailed approach to the understanding of individual-level consequences of cohort splitting, and to the associations between key life history traits in adaptive developmental plasticity scenarios.

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