An integrated analysis of phenotypic selection on insect body size and development time

Daniel J. Eck, Ruth G. Shaw, Charles J. Geyer, Joel G. Kingsolver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most studies of phenotypic selection do not estimate selection or fitness surfaces for multiple components of fitness within a unified statistical framework. This makes it difficult or impossible to assess how selection operates on traits through variation in multiple components of fitness. We describe a new generation of aster models that can evaluate phenotypic selection by accounting for timing of life-history transitions and their effect on population growth rate, in addition to survival and reproductive output. We use this approach to estimate selection on body size and development time for a field population of the herbivorous insect, Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Estimated fitness surfaces revealed strong and significant directional selection favoring both larger adult size (via effects on egg counts) and more rapid rates of early larval development (via effects on larval survival). Incorporating the timing of reproduction and its influence on population growth rate into the analysis resulted in larger values for size in early larval development at which fitness is maximized, and weaker selection on size in early larval development. These results illustrate how the interplay of different components of fitness can influence selection on size and development time. This integrated modeling framework can be readily applied to studies of phenotypic selection via multiple fitness components in other systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2525-2532
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aster models
  • Fitness components
  • Life-history tradeoffs
  • Manduca sexta
  • Natural selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'An integrated analysis of phenotypic selection on insect body size and development time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this