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Individual Variation of Ontogenies: A Longitudinal Study of Growth and Timing

Christian Peter Klingenberg
Evolution
Vol. 50, No. 6 (Dec., 1996), pp. 2412-2428
DOI: 10.2307/2410709
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410709
Page Count: 17
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Individual Variation of Ontogenies: A Longitudinal Study of Growth and Timing
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Abstract

This study of growth and developmental time in the water strider Limnoporus canaliculatus (Heteroptera: Gerridae) is based on longitudinal data from specimens reared individually in the laboratory. I analyzed multivariate allometry using a common principal components approach. This technique identified patterns of variation that were uncorrelated both within and among instars and which remained fairly constant throughout the growth period; in contrast, the overall amount of variation increased from young to older instars. Negative correlations between size and subsequent growth increments indicated convergent growth in the first three instars, but there was a transition to positive correlations (divergent growth) in later instars. Analysis of covariation among measurements made in different instars showed strong ontogenetic autocorrelation and revealed patterns remarkably similar to those found in mammals and birds; yet corresponding analyses of growth increments showed mainly independent variation in different instars. Therefore, I conclude that the strong correlations among stage-specific measurements result from the part-whole relationships inherent to these cumulative size data, but do not reflect specific properties of the organisms studied. In contrast to size increments, instar durations of water striders were highly correlated throughout the larval period, indicating that individuals tended to develop at either relatively fast or relatively slow rates in all instars. The correlations between growth increments and instar durations were nil or negative, contrary to expectations from lifehistory theory. The results of these analyses of individual variation match the findings from other water striders and from interspecific comparisons in the genus Limnoporus, but information about physiological mechanisms of molting and growth in insects cannot completely explain the patterns observed.

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