We describe the impact of recent life-history plasticity theory on insect studies, particularly on the interface between genetics and plasticity. We focus on the three-dimensional relationship between three key life-history traits: adult size (or mass), development time and growth rate, and the connections to life cycle regulation, host plant choice, and sexual selection in seasonal environments. The review covers fitness consequences of variation in size, development time and growth rate, and effects of sex, photoperiod, temperature, diet, and perceived mortality risk on these traits. We give special attention to evidence for adaptive plasticity in growth rates because of the important effects of such plasticity on the expected relationships between development time and adult size and, hence, on the use of life-history, fitness, and optimality approaches in ecology, as well as in genetics.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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