Proceedings of the royal society b-biological sciences vol:275 issue:1636 pages:781-785
Physiological costs of compensatory growth are poorly understood, yet may be the key components in explaining why growth rates are typically submaximal. Here we tested the hypothesized direct costs of compensatory growth in terms of oxidative stress. We assessed oxidative stress in a study where we generated compensatory growth in body mass by exposing larvae of the damselfly Lestes viridis to a transient starvation period followed by ad libitum food. Compensatory growth in the larval stage was associated with higher oxidative stress (as measured by induction of superoxide dismutase and catalase) in the adult stage. Our results challenge two traditional views of life-history theory. First, they indicate that age and mass at metamorphosis not necessarily completely translate larval stress into adult fitness and that the observed physiological cost may explain hidden carry-over effects. Second, they support the notion that costs of compensatory growth may be associated with free-radical-mediated trade-offs and not necessarily with resource-mediated trade-offs.