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Diapause is a major life history feature of many invertebrate organisms. Determining the phenology of diapause is critical for understanding survival and reproductive success of individuals as well as the long-term viability of many populations. The time spent in dormancy by individuals and variability among offspring in the duration of dormancy are two important aspects of invertebrate life histories. Some data are available, especially on duration of diapause, for plants and insects, but little information is available concerning variability among offspring in diapause traits. This is especially true for crustacean zooplankton, where essentially no information has been published on duration of diapause or variability among offspring in diapause timing or dynamics. Here I present data on the duration of diapause, and variability among offspring for diapause characteristics. The freshwater calanoid copepod Onychodiaptomus sanguineus, an obligately sexual species, was collected from Bullhead Pond, Rhode Island, U.S.A., and raised under conditions in the laboratory to induce production of diapausing eggs. One hundred clutches of these diapausing eggs (920 total eggs) were incubated for over two years in a full-factorial experiment testing the effects of temperature and photoperiod cycles on the hatching dynamics and duration of diapause. Overall hatching success was highest (approximately 86%) for eggs exposed to simultaneous temperature and photoperiod cycles mimicking natural changes, and was lowest (approximately 20%) when eggs were incubated at constant temperature (4 °C) and in constant dark conditions. The highest fraction of eggs hatched at approximately 550 days of age, but the age of eggs at hatching was highly variable among clutches. There was also large variability within clutches for hatching patterns, with some clutches containing eggs that all hatched synchronously and others in which eggs hatched more continuously throughout the experiment. Treatment conditions significantly affected within-clutch synchrony of hatching, as well as synchrony of the onset of hatching. These results of high within-clutch variability and differences among clutches in diapause dynamics have important implications for our understanding of reproductive success of individuals producing diapausing eggs, parent-offspring conflict, and the evolution of bet-hedging strategies in invertebrates.
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