Effects of mating delay and nutritional signals on resource recycling in a cyclically breeding cockroach

Emma L B Barrett, Richard F. Preziosi, Allen J. Moore, Patricia J. Moore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Ovarian apoptosis has been found to occur in the female cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea in response to lack of mates. It has been proposed that ovarian apoptosis in continuously breeding insects is an adaptive mechanism for recouping resources in poor conditions (oosorption). However, N. cinerea is a cyclically breeding insect and ovarian apoptosis may represent ageing and clearance of old unused oocytes. To test the hypothesis that oocyte resorption via apoptosis reflects the reclamation of resources, we delayed mating in combination with positive and negative nutritional signals. Females without access to food during sexual maturation invested less in reproduction and had elevated rates of ovarian apoptosis in the terminal oocyte. Starvation also induced apoptosis in non-vitellogenic oocytes of the vitellarium and germinarium, which would be used for future reproductive events. This is paradoxical as theory states that oosorption is an adaptive means of rerouting resources into investment in future reproduction, yet these oocytes do not represent a cache of resources and their loss could limit future reproduction. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-31
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


    • Ageing
    • Apoptosis
    • Life history trade-offs
    • Oosorption
    • Starvation


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